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The hands of Time

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𝐕𝐨𝐥𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐚, 𝟏𝟕𝟏𝟏 𝐀𝐃

The grand bedroom was still, the only thing interrupting the silence was murmurs and sweet nothings being exchanged between the lovers in bed. Both of them wrapped around the other, wanting to be as near as they possibly could. In truth it was difficult to pin point where Aro ended and Carlisle began. Their lovemaking had lasted for hours, neither of them seemed to get enough of the other. Which had landed them in the position they currently were in, Carlisle resting his head on Aro’s chest as the king let his fingers trace up and down his spine. His ministrations stilled, the other man lifting his head to look at the king curiously.

“I have a gift for you!” Aro exclaimed as he untangled himself from Carlisle. Rising, unashamed of his undressed state as he made his way over to the desk sat in front of the window. Opening a drawer and pulling something out as the man left in the bed lifted his head to look at him with an exasperated expression

“Aro, you do not have to-”

“Nonsense! I have given you no tokens of my affection. What kind of a dastardly courtship is that?” the kings tone sounded genuinely upset as he padded back over to the bed.

“You gave me full access to the library and your private collection…” Carlisle moved to sit upright in the bed as his lover climbed back in, covers falling from his frame and pooling around his waist. Scattered light from the window caught his frame, making it shimmer in that subtle sheen unique to him. The golden light haloed the perfect honey curls, golden eyes piercing back at him with such sincerity. If Aro didn’t know better he would have thought he had laid with Apollo last night. His expression must have puzzled his lover, for Carlisle let out a huff of a laugh before reaching out to grasp his hand. “That’s all I need.”

Oh, how exquisite Carlisle was.

The box was held out towards the golden eyed vampire. This time Aro looked more adamant. “Open it.” It was an order, it sounded like a lovers caress upon the winds; but a gentle order either way.

With a look of resignation did Carlisle finally accept the box that was offered to him. In all honesty, he would have been content if the box had been his present. The woodwork a work of art itself, but based on Aro’s anticipating expression; the true gift laid inside. A soft smile graced Carlisle’s lips as he lifted the lid, eyes widening at what was inside.

It was a pocket watch, made of solid gold. This one was decorated as well, vines and leaves curled around one another in an intricate pattern. And at its centre, an exquisite emerald was forged into it; catching the light in just right way. It reminded Carlisle of a hazy spring morning.

“A watchmaker in Holy Rome created it, I thought it might be to your liking”. A slender finger ran along the patterns that were carved into the gold. Carlisle wasn’t quite sure what he was more fascinated with; the craftsmanship or Aro’s hands. With a flick of his fingers did the watch open, the inside of the lid made Carlisle pause.

It was the tiniest of paintings, and yet the details were uncanny. The motif; them. At first glance the two of them seemed to be only seated besides one another, professional. But when you looked closer, there was a subtle way the two of them were leaning towards the other; a minuscule hand that seemed to be resting on Carlisle’s thigh.

“Caius painted it.”

That explained the paint strokes otherworldly beauty. Carlisle would make sure to thank Aro’s brother when he returned home from a mission with the guard.

It would be the most precious item Carlisle owned. His thoughts could not help but cloud and darken however. “Aro-” He drew an unneeded breath of air, attempting to steady himself. This was the kind of gift you rewarded a spouse, a mate. Carlisle did not dare hope, so he let his heart sink instead “Sulpicia-”

“-And I have showered one another with attention and finery for over a millennia. Do not fret.” Aro finished for him. Leaning in the king captured his lovers lips in a sweet kiss, reveling in the repressed joy and gratefulness he could feel in Carlisle’s mind. He could refuse his gifts all he wanted, Aro would find ways to shower him with attention regardless. If only to feel the alluring lull of a content Carlisle Cullen’s thoughts. Pulling back he stared into those pools of molten gold; one of the most beautiful treasures he would be able to covet in his immortal existence. He still looked so bashful whenever they sat like this, no matter how many times the two of them had fallen into bed. A teasing smile spread on his lips, tilting his head. “In fact … she came up with the idea.”

A comfortable silence hung in the room, as the two of them searched each others gaze. Carlisle was the first to break eye contact, looking down at the box with a fond expression. Leaning over, he placed the box carefully on the bedside table. His attention was once more on the king.

“… Thank you.” he finally said before leaving a chaste kiss on Aro’s lips. Perhaps Carlisle would never fully comprehend how the kings marriage functioned. In this moment, it seemed to matter less and less… as long as Aro kept looking at him in that way. His eyes were so often lost and unfocused, trapped within the memories of others and himself. Now those deep pools of red were sated, ever so slightly darker than usual because he hungered for Carlisle once more.

In the distance church bells rang softly, it was Sunday. As if on que Carlisle shifted so he could slip out of bed. He found himself unable however, for a strong tanned arm held him back by the waist. Aro pressed himself closer, chest against Carlisle’s back. “And where do you think your going?” the kings voice had dropped an octave, lips seeking out his throat and leaving open mouthed kisses there.

“It is Sunday, I need to-”

Carlisle found himself being wrestled on to the silken sheets again. Wavy black hair cascaded around his face as Aro made himself at home between his thighs, hovering above him. Like this, the king truly looked predatory, and there was nowhere for Carlisle to hide.

“I much prefer it when you give your prayers to me.” and with those last words did Aro capture his lips in a kiss that was all tongue and teeth. The only thing Carlisle could do was hold on for dear life, arms wrapping around his lover; hands grasping on to him tightly.

He was all-consuming, like tar that clung to his skin unforgivingly. A comforting darkness that was quintessentially Aro.

Carlisle let himself fall.

𝟑𝟏𝟎 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫..

He had not meant to stumble across the small mahogny box with flowery carvings; the only possession he had brought with him the night he fled Volterra. The cargo it held too precious for him to leave behind, nor get rid of in his various moves over the years. With trembling hands did Carlisle lift the lid, it took everything in him not to slam it close once the contents were revealed to him. The pocket watch rested on a fine bed of plush velvet the color of emeralds.

It had long since fallen into disrepair, the hands of time no longer moving. How fitting. With a shake of his head did Carlisle open the lockets mechanism, only for his breath to hitch as sienna eyes stared up at him. Their portraits may have begun to fade -He should have taken better care of it-, but the two figures were distinguishable regardless. The image of Aro seared itself into his minds eye, memories as clear as if they occurred a minute ago. He would have to be careful the coming days, make sure to occupy his surface thoughts with banal topics.

He clutched the fragile thing in his hands, bringing it closer to his face. To his mouth.

The metal almost felt warm against his cold skin, lips gently caressing the precious relic from another time and place. His thoughts drifting back to that holy morning, and for a second Carlisle swore he could hear his name being called by a honeyed voice from across the sands of time.

He prayed.