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peace is with you

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"...Aesop, are you okay?" Naib couldn't help but be slightly concerned judging from how many times Aesop had failed his calibrations, staring at him worriedly. Aesop mumbled something along the lines of 'not enough sleep'. 

"I think, you should maybe ask Joseph to let you rest after a couple of rounds.." Naib recommended, "Limit the times you guys get it goin-"

Aesop felt his face burn, "No! No..it's not because of Joseph...I just really didn't rest well last night...!" 

Naib shrugged, "Okay, whatever you say." He didn't need to be a seer to see through the truth. Aesop wanted to explain some more, but the hunter was closing in so they had to speed up their decoding process.

Finishing up the cipher, Aesop and Naib split up, and the hunter chose to chase after Aesop. Aesop sighed, accepting his fate, and started to run, "The hunter is near me!" 

"Focus on decoding!" 

After chasing Aesop for 3 ciphers, the hunter admitted defeat, choosing to go after someone else. In the end, all four of them were able to get out. 

The game ended, Aesop was almost unable to open his eyes, slowly heading over to the garden purely based on muscle memory. Since he already promised Joseph. 

Joseph sat on a chair inside the garden, the table in front of him filled with different little desserts and fruits. He took a sip of his tea, waiting for Aesop. 

"Joseph..." Aesop wobbled over, almost falling into the small pond on the way here, scaring the living daylights out of Joseph. Who immediately ran over and picked him up, "Aesop! Please be careful!"

Letting Aesop sit in his lap, Joseph lightly pecked his gray hair, "Did you not sleep well last night? You look tired..." The manor owner had asked him for a favor last night, causing him to not get back until sunrise. 

Aesop hummed, smelling the familiar scent he became much more relaxed, "I can't sleep...without Joseph..."

hearing his lover's words, Joseph felt his heart melt, chuckling softly, he took off his jacket and placed it over Aesop, "Then sleep, my little one."

Aesop hummed again as a response, not bothering to open his eyes.

rhythmed and soft breathing sounded almost immediately, Aesop's hands subconsciously clutching onto Joseph's shirt. Joseph kissed his head once more, quietly waiting for him to wake. 

"Ho? Is this not the infamous photographer? what are you doing sitting here? hm? Is that Aesop in your lap?" Jack teased, observing the sleeping Aesop in Joseph's lap. 

Joseph murderously glared at Jack, "If you wake Aesop up, I'll kill you." 

Jack gave a little 'hmph', sitting down across from Joseph. He grabbed a small piece of cake from the table and popped it in his mouth, sighing, "When can Naib be as well-behaved as Aesop..."

"Keep dreaming, you have everything in your dreams." Joseph didn't hesitate to snap back, gently caressing Aesop's back, and kissed his lover lightly in the jealous eyes of Jack. 

"Hm? What is everyone doing here?" Mary followed Michiko slowly towards the two glaring at each other. 

"oh my! so cute! isn't this the little embalmer? he fell asleep." Mary happily gazed at the sleeping figure in Joseph's lap, whispering. Michiko also chuckled lightly, hiding her face with her fan, "How cute!" 

Aesop slightly turned in joseph's lap, the noise bringing him out from his deep slumber, "Joe..Joseph..." Hearing his name, Joseph looked down, "Hm? Is something wrong, darling? Is it too loud? I'll ask them to be quieter, you can continue sleeping, it's still early." 

Jack can not bear to watch Joseph's pamper Aesop anything, making an 'i'm gonna throw up' face. Mary and Michiko on the other hand watched with great interest, Joseph's tone was so gentle and soft, it was nothing like the usual him. Every girl likes romantic things, they were no different. 

"Well, as you can see, Aesop is still sleeping, I would appreciate it if you could be a bit quieter." Joseph smiled, glancing at three others around him. Mary and Michiko nodded their head, sitting down around the table, "Of course, of course, let him sleep!" 

"That being said, why is Aesop so tired today?" Michiko curiously asked, Jack immediately glanced at Joseph with an 'oh I know what you did' look, giving Joseph a tremendous urge to slam his face down in the plate of cake he held. 

"He's too tired in the nighttime, what else can it be?"  Jack teased, taking a sip of tea.

"Va te faire foutre, what are you thinking? He slept alone last night so he's not used to it." 

"Did the manor owner call you over to help again?" Mary cut in, "How many times has this been? It's a first that it took this long, however."

"He said it was some BUG on a certain map, and wanted me to try fixing it with my camera...the result being us getting stuck in the camera for the whole night..." Every time Joseph remembered last night, he wanted to kill the manor owner for wasting his precious time he could have spent with Aesop. 

Jack did not hesitate and laughed without mercy, expressing how he did not pity or sympathize with his unfortunate situation at all. Joseph could only repeat tell himself that he needed to calm down, there was no dignity in arguing with stupid people. Ignoring Jack and started conversing with the ladies. 

After a while, Joseph felt the person in his lap move a little, he looked down, "Did you rest well, mon cheri?" 

"Hm..." Aesop nodded, his mind still groggy from sleep, looking up to see Joseph's gentle smile. "Good morning, Joseph..." He leaned up and lightly kissed Joseph. Not registering his surroundings yet, Aesop thought they were in their room, kissing Joseph out of habit. Joseph raised his eyebrow, realizing immediately that Aesop must still be sleepy from his nap, but still, that didn't stop him from kissing back. 

"!!" His head spun from lack of oxygen, faintly patting Joseph, "J-Joseph..!" 

After kissing Aesop for a full minute, he finally let him go, not caring about those around them. Aesop dizzily looked to the side and froze. 

He was done for.

Mary gazed at the both of them with stars in her eyes, while Michiko covered her reddened face with her fan. Jack pretended that he didn't see anything, drinking his tea. Aesop has never wished he was invisble more in this instant. 

He opened his mouth, then closed it, wanted to say something but not knowing what. Finally, he decided to bury his face in Joseph's embrace, choosing to escape from reality.

Joseph crudely tugged on Aesop's hand, wanting to see his bright face, but was slapped away by Aesop, "what's wrong mon cheri? are you embarrassed?"

Aesop didn't reply, continue to be a turtle.

Mary laughed, "Joseph, you should hurry and coax your little darling, we'll be heading back now." She nodded to them, leaving with Michiko. Seeing that everyone was leaving, Jack got up as well, waving to Joseph as he said his goodbyes.

In the garden, Joseph quietly hugged Aesop, laughing happily. Seeing that everyone had left, Aesop struggled to get down from Joseph's lap, only to be stopped by him.

"Joseph...please put me down!!" Aesop glared at him harshly, not knowing that his reddened face and wet eyes made him not at all intimidating, instead cute, like a little puppy trying its best to be scary. 

"Little Aesop is tired, are you not? I'll bring you back, here!" Before he could register what was happening, Joseph stood up, hugging him as they made their way back to the room.

"!!!" Aesop tightly grabbed onto Joseph, startled by his sudden movement, but the next second he quietly yelled into Joseph's ear, "Joseph!!! There are people watching!!"

Joseph couldn't be happier that they were looking, if he could, he would've told the whole world that Aesop was his and his only. Preventing any eyeless bastards coming to bother Aesop. He hummed a little tune with delight as they walked, "Then let them see."

Of course, because of this, Joseph didn't get to sleep with Aesop for a week, but when asked about it, said he would do it again in a heartbeat.