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Because he hates you.

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Gods, but he could pluck out those Maeliah eyes of yours.

The way your gaze slides from courtier to courtier as they come up to present themselves, how bashfully your lashes flutter upon your cheek at every compliment, the way your lips curl and eyes squint in the easiest, most genuine smile he’s ever seen—he hates every bit of it, but refuses to look away from you.

Vesperion forces himself to bear witness to the grace of you.

To see if you slip up, he tells himself, to catch you when smile falters, when your eyes glaze, when your mind wanders or you forget your words, when those Maeliah fangs finally appear, when that forked tongue slips out, just like your mother.

His knees grow weak when your tongue does slip out to wet those plush lips of yours, and he turns away without thinking for the heat that blooms on his cheeks.

He downs the rest of his drink, ignoring the shake of his hand, and drops upon on a servant’s tray without thinking as he walks out into the halls.


He can hear people whispering in the alcoves; lovers entwined in shadows, hoping they might never see sunlight again, so long as it meant the moment could last forever.

Vesperion rolls his eyes at the thought, but cannot help the composition that flows out of his mind.

Lovers entwined

In shadows they find

That the other is not who they think.

Yet on they go

Kissing their foe.

In the morning they’ll say they had too much to drink.

He squints and grimaces—too limerick-y, not enough lyrically.

He files the poem away in his mind for later editing.


Vesperion wanders onto balcony, surprised that it isn’t occupied by flustered lovers. He slings one leg upon the bench, places an elbow upon the railing, and bites at his thumb and knuckles as he stares at the golden glow of lights below the palace.

“Ah, that’s where you’ve run off to.”

He startles, eyes wide and chest thumping, at the sound of your voice.

“What are you doing here?”

He cannot keep the venom from his voice, but the disappointed look you give him sends the poison shivering from his tongue as it settles deeply into his mind. What remains on his tongue is leaden and heavy as your skirts rustle closer with every step, your fingers dragging upon the stone railing, looking down at Pytensia below.

“I was looking for you.”

Your voice is soft, quiet—he idly wonders if your moans would be the same, before furiously turning his head away from you, glaring down at the city.

But your heels click closer and closer until he can smell what seems like a bouquet of flowers, though he knows it’s only you.

“You ran off before I could greet you.”

“Perhaps I did not wish to speak with you,” he lies.

“Do you want me to leave?”

“No,” he says before he can think.

His edge of his vision is filled with you as you take a seat next to him, though he resolutely maintains his gaze upon the city lights.

“It is lovely this evening, isn’t it?”

He hums noncommittally, trying not to look at you.

“I often come here when I need to be alone.” You sigh lightly. “I find I’ve been needing to come here more, of late.”

Still he says nothing, but the temptation of you proves too much, and he glances over to look at you.


Gods-given beauty. Even he cannot deny the way the breath is stolen from his lungs at the sight of you. Gold-tinged lights from the city below illuminate your eyes, your cheeks, your lips, and the silvery moonlight above shines down upon your hair, catching upon the fine silk of your dress, of the jewels hanging upon your wrists in neck.

You are bedecked in loveliness and Vesperion hates you all the more.

At least, that is how he interprets the sudden, drum-like beating of his heart, the strangling of his neck, the heat that rises up to his face when you turn to face him, the most delicate of smiles gracing your lips.

This is hate, and nothing more, he thinks.

And then he leans in to capture your lips with his.

This is because he hates you.

This is because he hates the way you moan into him, hates the way you grip his arm to steady yourself, hates the way your other hand reaches up to tangle itself in his hair.

Because he hates the way he moans at the feeling of your soft hands upon him, hates the way he bites your lip suddenly and you moan from it, hates the way he grips your own hair and pulls upon it strong enough to hurt, but you moan anyway.

He hates, hates, hates the way you whimper, beg for more; hates, hates, hates the way, he throws you down onto the bench, crushing you with his body; hates, hates, hates the way you pull your skirts up and open your legs for him so he can settle between them more comfortably.

And he hates the way your breath hitches when he bites your neck. Hates the way his hand trembles when it runs up your leg, skin jumping beneath his fingertips, touches the wet heat between your legs. Hates the way you whisper his name and beg when all he does is run his fingers up and down.

And gods, does he hate the way his cock strains against his breeches, jumping along with every whimper and moan that springs from your neck. But it is less than he hates the way he thrusts his fingers inside you, stretching you, dragging in you, pushing, pushing, pushing as far as they’ll go as your walls flutter around him, squeezing him, begging him for more.

But all of that is far less than the way he hates how his other hand and your own furiously unbutton his breeches, the way your hand finds him and squeezes him, your walls fluttering around his stilling fingers, the way you look deeply into his eyes and beg.

And yet.

And yet.

He finds that he has never hated anything more in his entire life, than the feeling of your heat, squeezing, pulsing around his cock as he drops his head to your shoulders to groan and bite and shudder with breath.

You move first, his entire body shaking as the act nearly undoes him then and there, eyes burning with tears, but he swallows, grips your hips, and stills you.

Then he pulls out all the way, and thrusts back in.

You shriek, and he has to grab your head and kiss you to smother you.

He thrusts, you squeeze, you cry, he moans.

Again, and again, and again, and again…

He wonders idly if you might just die here and then, as he fucks you into the bench, or if your cunt will squeeze the life out of him first.

And gods does it.

You shudder violently beneath him, gripping his doublet, sobbing into his chest, as your cunt squeezes him so tightly he swears he sees stars. And Vesperion follows you soon after, so blinded is he with the pleasure of fucking you that he forgets to pull out, spilling deeply inside of you.

A woman’s giggle snaps him out of his afterglow, and with burning cheeks Vesperion pulls out immediately, tucking himself back inside his breeches, yanking your skirts over your legs, and taking a few steps back to look at you gasping for breath, your arms shaking as you try to push yourself up.


He runs away before you can even open your mouth to speak.