This story is going to be the sort of concluding piece of the Kyainese story arc–which won’t end here, but this will be the last new POV we get on it. This story is going to feature an incestuous relationship between two brothers, one of whom is a bit younger than many of the other characters, so back away if you’re not into that. Enjoy!
“Your family was always steadfastly loyal to my dear departed sister and to House DiGorre,” the king said. “And given your exceptional service, I see no reason to believe that isn’t still true.”
“Thank you, my king,” Giacomo said, bowing, Geoffrey watched him, watched him hold himself with all the poise he could muster, and wondered how that was his little brother.
“Please, only regent,” Hans DiFueure said, holding up a hand. He was a squat, rectangular man with a haggard face and eyes that made him look tired. “There does remain the issue that your brother was an advisor to the usurper.”
Geoffrey didn’t speak. He was the older, and the head of the house. But Hans was speaking to Giacomo.
“Only as a ruse to gain his trust, my regent,” Giacomo said with a small smile. “Our family was in a bad position and were the only ones to remain loyal to House DiGorre. Geoffrey and I decided it was the only way.”
Giacomo had kicked Geoffrey in the balls when Geoffrey had told him what he planned to do.
Hans nodded. “You did very well, young man. Any accusations of collaboration with the usurper are pardoned. Your family is cleared of any wrongdoing.”
“Thank you, my regent,” said Giacomo, bowing again as Geoffrey thought about the usurper, escaping on horseback before Hans had gotten to the castle. “Is there anything we can do to be of service to you?”
“For now just return to your house. In a few days I will hold court and make formal pronouncements about my advisors and so forth. The first and only order of business of my regency will be finding the remaining members of House DiGorre, most critically Princess Flora. We must return Kyaine to its rightful rulers at once.”
The last remaining daughter of the deposed queen had vanished from the castle during Hans’s attack. Nobody had seen her leave.
“I couldn’t agree more, my king,” Giacomo said, nodding. “Thank you.”
“The kingdom thanks you for your help, Giacomo. You may go.” Hans nodded regally. He also sat on the throne regally. He also wore the crown regally. He was very regal.
Regent, Geoffrey’s ass. Nobody believed that. He planned to rule as king, and probably marry Flora once she was old enough—that she’d gone missing was a blessing.
Giacomo bowed again, and this time Geoffrey bowed with him. “Thank you, my regent,” they both said, and retreated from the throne room, silence following them until the doors fell shut in their wake.
Neither of them said anything as they moved through the untouched halls of the castle. By the time Hans had gotten here there hadn’t been any resistance. Geoffrey followed a step behind his little brother, looking around. Only a few hours since Hans had taken over, and it was returning to normal, servants cleaning up, guards patrolling the hallway. A significant portion of the northern façade had collapsed, Geoffrey understood, but other than that there was no damage.
Their carriage was waiting for them in the castle courtyard, which was similarly undamaged. This was where the fighting had ended. Giacomo had performed his exceptional service here, killing Ulrich Elderbyne as he’d retreated into the castle’s defences, after his forces had faced utter defeat thanks to Giacomo making sure they hadn’t gotten the right orders or supplies.
He was too smart by far, Geoffrey’s brother. And too ruthless. And too young to be either of those things.
Only once they climbed into the carriage and closed the door behind them did Giacomo’s expression change. He sighed, closing his eyes and running his hand through his curling hair. His only curled at the ends instead of all over like Geoffrey’s, something he’d inherited from their father. He also had their mother’s high cheekbones and brilliant eyes. “Fuck,” Giacomo muttered.
“You did very well,” Geoffrey said, not sure what else to say as he rapped on the side of the carriage. It started moving, taking them out of the courtyard. Being inside it meant they wouldn’t see the places where damage had been done, to the streets and the buildings of Hawk’s Roost. The castle had escaped it but the city hadn’t. They were still removing the bodies.
“I know.” Giacomo smiled at him, sitting next to Geoffrey and resting his head on Geoffrey’s shoulder. “Do you think we’ll end up having to kill Hans too? Probably.”
Geoffrey internally winced. “I think we can only switch sides so many times before people start to think we’re untrustworthy.”
“It’s not switching sides,” Giacomo said quietly. “We’ve always been on the same side. Our side. Our family’s side.”
“House DiSheere isn’t one of the sides in the current conflict,” Geoffrey reminded him, pulling his arm around Giacomo and resting his head on Giacomo’s. He was so tired. He’d been asleep for several days and had only woken up during the attack. Sleeping was exhausting. Or maybe being stabbed and then healed was exhausting. Or maybe treason was exhausting. Either way, Geoffrey was exhausted.
“I bet that’s what Stephan thought too when he had our dad killed,” Giacomo said, bitter. “Nobody important, just Gerhard DiSheere. Who’s going to miss him.” He smiled now, just as bitter. Giacomo wasn’t a bitter boy. “Who’s going to miss poor King Stephan? I killed him, I don’t care what Jorge says. He’s a liar. He’s also not the one who healed you after the banquet. Him I want to kill.”
“Killing people isn’t the only way to solve problems, Giacomo,” Geoffrey cautioned. It was easy to get into that mode of thinking and become a monster. “And you didn’t kill Stephan.”
Giacomo looked up at him, featuring hardening into a glare. “You believe Jorge? Geoffrey.”
“I don’t. Jorge’s lying, but you’re mistaken. That wasn’t Stephan’s body Hans found on the throne.” The body on the throne had looked like the usurper, the crown slipped down over his face, blood on his lips. But it hadn’t been.
“I killed him,” Giacomo insisted. “I stabbed him in the chest. I remember doing it. Jorge just used an illusion to disguise the wound, that’s all.”
Geoffrey shook his head, feeling bad. “He escaped, Giacomo. I helped him do it. The guy on the throne must have been a body double or an illusion or something.” Jorge was the only wizard in the city and he was slimy as hell. It was something he’d do.
“You…” Giacomo lifted his head, moved away from Geoffrey. “You what?”
He sounded dangerous. He was dangerous. Geoffrey wanted to know when his little brother had become dangerous. “I helped him escape. It was the agreement I had with his companion.”
“I know that, but…” Giacomo stood up, swaying in the moving carriage. “You had no reason to honour that. How…how dare you. I spent all day…all fucking week trying to save us both and you were…you were helping the guy who killed our dad?”
“Yeah,” Geoffrey said calmly. “I was.”
“I…I hate you. You selfish…what’s wrong with you?” Giacomo demanded, putting a spike in Geoffrey’s heart. “He killed our father! I don’t care if he was nice to you and if you felt bad for him, he got our dad killed. He died in your arms, Geoffrey!”
“I remember,” Geoffrey said, because he did. Stay loyal, he’d said. Don’t waste time. Don’t let the house fall. He had sounded uncertain. Even as he’d been dying, Gerhard DiSheere had made sure to let Geoffrey know he didn’t trust him.
“He knew about us,” Geoffrey interrupted, looking at his hands. “He knew about you and me, Giacomo.”
That brought Giacomo up short and he stood there, swaying. “Dad did? But…”
“He found out about a week before the coup. He took me into his study and gave me a drink. He told me it was how men talked. And then he told me that he was sending me back out east, to the manor, to gain leadership experience so I’d learn how to be a proper man and keep my hands off his son.” Geoffrey made himself say it. He’d never been able to tell Giacomo this before. Giacomo had been grieving, and he’d wanted to protect his brother from what their father had been like. “He told me that the law said I had to inherit his lands and that my heir had to inherit them from me and that was the only reason he wasn’t castrating me. He was going to try and get you married to Flora, or to Christina or to another girl from out west, so I’d never have cause to see you again.”
Now he looked up at Giacomo, who was stricken. “I never liked him even before that, Giacomo. He didn’t like me either. I’m glad he’s dead. Stephan did us both a favour.”
“Geoffrey…” Giacomo took a breath, eyes swimming. He stepped forward, arms out. Geoffrey stood up, and they hugged, swaying together. “You’re a terrible person.”
Geoffrey nodded. “I know.” He knew he was. It was wrong, what he was doing with Giacomo, and he knew that. It was wrong to be glad his father had died. It was wrong to have helped his killer. Everything Geoffrey did was wrong.
And he didn’t care.
“I am too,” Giacomo whispered, hugging Geoffrey tighter. “I killed people today and it made me happy. Killing people isn’t supposed to make you happy.”
“It’s okay,” Geoffrey told him, smoothing Giacomo’s hair. He needed a bath. “I won’t let you do it again.” He’d protect Giacomo from anything. Even himself.
“I’m not sure that you’ll be able to stop me.”
“I’m pretty good at giving out spankings to naughty boys.”
Giacomo laughed, nodding against Geoffrey’s chest. “Okay. I’m too tired for a spanking today, though. I just want to go to bed.”
“Me too,” Geoffrey agreed. “But we’re having a bath first, at least. You haven’t had one since I’ve been asleep, have you?”
“I was busy ruling Kyaine.”
“You’re so cute.”
“And I didn’t even have to suck anyone’s dick to make it happen.”
“I am still planning to spank you. Don’t make it worse.”
“If I suck your dick will you not spank me?” Giacomo asked, looking up at Geoffrey with innocent eyes.
Geoffrey smiled, pinched his cheek. “No. But you can suck my dick anyway. Oh, and one more thing.”
“Stephan’s not going to Three Hills.”
“I promised Neville I’d get him out of Hawk’s Roost if it came to it. I never promised I’d get him up north.” Geoffrey smiled. “He killed our dad. Even if dad was a fuckhead, you didn’t really think I was going to let the insult to our family stand, did you?”
He liked Stephan, he really did. But Stephan had hurt his family. Geoffrey looked out for his family.
“Geoffrey!” Giacomo stepped back, punched Geoffrey in the stomach. “You didn’t have to sit there and let me insult you!”
Geoffrey shrugged, recovering his breath. “You’re cute when you’re mad.”
“Where’s he going?”
“East.” To their lands near the plateau.
Giacomo grinned, hugged Geoffrey again. “I guess I’ll suck your dick every day this week.”
“Hey, isn’t that just part of your little brother duties? Give me at least twice a day, you little cheapskate.”
“Fine, I guess you’ve earned it.” Giacomo got up on his toes and kissed Geoffrey, and the cart went over a rut it the road, sending them toppling into the seat, with Giacomo in Geoffrey’s lap. “Geoffrey?”
“No more secrets, okay? For either of us.”
“Yeah,” Geoffrey agreed, holding his brother tight. “We’re in this together.”
“Yeah. I love you.”
“I love you too, Giacomo.”
They held each other the rest of the way home. Geoffrey would hold Giacomo forever if he could, but since he couldn’t, he’d settle for protecting his brother, his family, with everything he had, and everything he was.
Geoffrey swore he would, on the name of House DiSheere.