The smell of burnt wax filled his lungs, and the bitter taste of red wine was heavy on his tongue. He wanted to vomit, pass out, anything to get rid of the memories flooding his senses. Spending too much time not working made his mind wander. He hated it. He knew sleep wouldn’t come easily tonight, not without strong medicine or too much alcohol (and he wasn’t the fondest of either of those things). He walked through the grand halls of the castle, sticking to the shadows to not draw any attention to himself. Being caught wandering around during the night would not be good for ensuring his trustworthy reputation would stay intact. Especially with the whispers of assassins targeting the Princess and his trusted comrades.
Momose had been making some progress. Some. The Princess himself didn’t seem too fond of him honestly, brushing off his advances with a cold stare. Miake had mentioned something about being on fairly good terms with him, so it wasn’t like they were completely out of options, but Momose certainly enjoyed his job a little more than people thought a gentle, delicate man like him would. If he wasn’t able to assist much in getting the Princess himself, he would be slightly disappointed.
Although, there was another person in the castle that had piqued his interest.
Yes, Aoi Isshiki was very interesting indeed. His soft blond hair, piercing blue eyes, his deep voice that made Momose feel tingly in all his favourite places. Aoi is extremely easy on the eyes, and his serious personality nicely complimented Momose’s. They were obviously compatible, and Momose certainly wouldn’t mind a taste of him before…
But regardless, he had a more important mission now: getting to the castle garden without arousing suspicion to calm down his thoughts.
“What are you doing?”
Well, so much for that plan.
“Aoi~!” Momose said turning around to see Aoi’s displeased face, illuminated by the dim torches that were lit along the corridor. “Oh, did you miss me that much that you came to see me during the night? Well, if that’s what you had in mind, I think-”
“I need to return this to the library.” He walked closer to where Momose was still stood against the wall. “Answer me. What are you doing?”
His voice was strong and forceful, it made Momose want to obey his every wish, tell him everything about the hit, and fully accept any punishment that voice felt fit to give him (even if it was death). He told himself he needed to calm down, and respond normally. “Just thought I’d go for a midnight stroll.” He gave Aoi his usual carefree smile.
Aoi’s eyes narrowed. “A midnight stroll? Alone? Whilst there are possible assassins roaming around?”
Momose wasn’t about to admit he was said assassin. “I could say the same to you, Aoi.”
He sighed. “I was only leaving my office for a short amount of time. You, on the other hand, were planning to aimlessly wander.”
Momose wrapped his arm around Aoi’s. “Well then, I’ll escort you to library. And then you can escort me back to your ro-”
“And then, I will escort you back to your own room, where you will stay, for the entire night.” Momose went to finish Aoi’s sentence for him, but Aoi interrupted before he could. “And then, I will go back to my office, alone.”
“Mmmm… Aoi, do I have to go back to my room… I’d rather not be alone right now…” He said as they started heading towards the library.
“What’s the matter?”
“I… uh… had a bad dream.”
Aoi paused and considered his words as Momose opened the library door for them. Aoi nodded in thanks. “If… If you want to talk about it… I could listen.”
Momose shouldn’t. If he spoke he could reveal too much. Aoi was smart, and knew a lot about other countries. He could easily find out Momose’s identity if he gave away too much.
“Ah, it was just about my past, my childhood wasn’t the greatest.”
Momose talents didn't include his intelligence.
Aoi thought about what to say, whilst he held the library door open for Momose. “I’m… sorry to hear that…”
“Well, it’s in the past now, it’s not important.” He took a breath. “What about you Aoi? Tell me something about your past.”
Aoi headed towards the shelf he book was from as Momose sat up on one of the tables, staring after his back. “Um… my past was fairly normal… I lived with my parents in Prid’s.”
“Ehh~, Aoi is from Prid’s as well? Hmmm, he doesn’t seem like the type to enjoy the neverending party image that place has.”
“Really? My parents brought me into the Capital often…”
Momose laid back on the table he was perched on. “I guess it’s because you’re so serious all the time.”
“The image of Prid’s is more suited to Sakurai, then,” he said as he returned to Momose’s side.
Momose just smiled bitterly. “Well, I was raised right in the Capital. I could even see the Palace from some openings in the upper rooms.”
“Interesting… Your family must be well off if you lived that close to the Palace.”
Momose’s eyes flitted away for a brief moment before he opened his mouth. “I, uh, wouldn’t know. They left me when I was still fairly young.”
Aoi couldn’t think of any words to say.
Momose hopped off the table, and wrapped his arm around Aoi’s once again. “Well, no reason to dwell on it. I don’t even know if they’re alive anymore. Now, weren’t you going to escort me back to my room.”
Aoi observed Momose’s face for a second, before resigning. “Yes, let’s go.”
Momose giggled. “Thank you Aoi~. You’re such a gentleman.”
The two walked in silence through the halls, Momose hyper aware of the deafening silence and how the sweat on his palms were soaking through Aoi’s shirt. If Aoi noticed he said nothing.
When they eventually reached Momose’s room, he took a deep breath before facing Aoi. “Aoi… would you mind staying in my room… At least until the sun rises…?”
“Sakurai, I really shouldn’t-”
“I-I won’t try anything…” Momose brought one hand to half-heartedly clutch his chest. “I’ll even let you have the bed just… Please… I don’t want to be alone tonight…”
Aoi took a deep breath before nodding his head. “Okay then. Until the sun rises.”
Momose turned away from Aoi to open the door.
That was scarily easy.
After letting Aoi in, he closed and locked the door behind him, quickly scanning the room to see if he had left anything suspicious out.
(Aoi probably wouldn’t understand what the jar of oil on the bedside table was for anyway, so he assumed he was safe.)
Momose sat on a stool a few feet away from the bed, and he gestured towards the bed for Aoi to lay down on. “You should sleep for a bit, I need to stay up and finish some work for Kagayan.”
“Wait, no. I'll help you with it, I shouldn't be taking your bed.”
Momose raised his hand. “Aoi, it's fine. Get some rest for tomorrow, I'll bother you in the morning if you really want me to.”
Aoi let out a breath and sat back down on the bed. “All right. Goodnight then, Sakurai.”
He smiled. “Goodnight, Aoi~.”
Momose turned away, and waited. Waited till Aoi was deep in sleep, his breathing heavy, little sighs coming out at a steady, regular pace.
He really was adorable.
Momose looked at Aoi as he slept and thought for a moment. If Momose was locked in a room with any other man, they wouldn't be sleeping right now, (Momose may have been, but he didn't want to think about it). Aoi was so vulnerable. His head was tilted to the side, his slim, unmarred, delicate neck exposed. It was simple. Easy. It could be over in seconds.
But Momose didn't move.
If Aoi died in Momose's own room, it'd be obvious, right? Someone could have seen the two of them enter the room, right? Even if he tried to relocate his body, he could be seen, and then it'd really be over for Momose.
That's right. Killing Aoi right now would be idiotic, stupid.
So he would wait. He would watch Aoi sleep, and wait until the sun has risen. Wait until he could go back to pretending to care about Aoi. Wait until the next opportunity to kill him.