Noble, 46

Coming Home from A Vacation Is Often When You Realize Whether or Not You Enjoyed the Vacation

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Giacomo sat in Geoffrey’s lap for the carriage ride back to the house, resting his head on Geoffrey’s shoulder.

Geoffrey held him, feeling the comforting weight of Giacomo’s body on his, bouncing up and down. He clung a little tighter as they hit a hole. “You know,” Geoffrey said, kissing Giacomo’s head. “Someone really ought to do something about the quality of the roads in this city.”

Giacomo smiled. “I might know a guy who can do that.”

“If you say it’s Hans I’m going to spank you.”

Giacomo looked up at him with such soft eyes that for a second Geoffrey almost fell for his innocent act, even if he’d never once been innocent. He kissed Geoffrey. “When you talk to Franz, will you please emphasize that Dahlia will step aside as soon as her nephew is old enough to assume the throne?”

“Okay,” said Geoffrey. “Will she actually?”

“I don’t know,” Giacomo admitted. “I think so.”

“What are you going to do about that?” There was no way Giacomo was going to let that happen. He’d gone through too much and sacrificed too much to become king. They all had. He was never going to let that kind of power go, not Giacomo. Not Geoffrey’s king.

“I’m not sure yet,” Giacomo admitted, taking a deep breath. “I have a few years to figure it out. I can probably convince her not to abdicate. If we have a kid we’ll have a strong enough claim that we can probably convince everyone to side behind us without starting another war.”

“That’s two probablies,” Geoffrey observed. “That’s a lot for you.”

“I know. Too much of being king depends on what other people do, Geoffrey.” Giacomo gave a sigh, snuggling Geoffrey a bit. “I can’t control everyone all the time. It’s impossible.”

Geoffrey nodded, and he kissed Giacomo’s head again. Just because Giacomo couldn’t control everyone all the time didn’t mean he wouldn’t try. And he’d succeed at controlling most people most of the time. “If we need to fight another war, just let me know which side to be on.”

“I’m hoping we just won’t have to,” Giacomo said. “I’m going to miss you.”

“You too. But I’ll see you soon.”

“Yeah. We’ll even have a formal meeting. Well, formal-ish. After you’ve talked to Franz.”

“Yeah,” Geoffrey said. “Who’ll run the kingdom while you’re at the wedding? Hans will have to go too, right?”

“Yeah. I don’t know. Maybe Hadrian DiWynn.” Giacomo shifted.

“You’re not telling me things again,” Geoffrey accused.

“That’s not it. You’re asking me about stuff I don’t know the answers to.”

“You always know the answer.”

Giacomo shook his head. “I don’t. You just think I do.”

Geoffrey thought that because it was true. But he just held Giacomo. “Okay,” he said. “Sorry.” Giacomo was the king. If he wanted to keep secrets from Geoffrey, he could. They weren’t in the room anymore. Geoffrey and Giacomo the brothers didn’t have secrets. Giacomo the king and Geoffrey his servant did.

They were quiet until the cart pulled to a stop, then Giacomo sighed. “You have to go,” he said.

Geoffrey nodded. “Yeah. I’ll send you a letter when I’ve talked to Franz.”

“Okay. I’ll see you then. And we’ll go to the inn before I leave for the wedding.”

Giacomo kissed Geoffrey, and Geoffrey kissed him back, holding him in place for a minute longer. But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t hold Giacomo forever, and eventually they separated. Giacomo opened the door for Geoffrey.

Geoffrey stepped out of the carriage, which had deposited him in front of the kitchen entrance. He watched the carriage carry Giacomo away, resisting the urge to wave at it like a little boy. It was cold outside, but after the carriage was gone, he stood there for a second in his loincloth, not really sure what to do. He felt like he should just stand here and wait until the carriage brought Giacomo back. What else was there to do in the meantime? Even if it was weeks, what else was there to do?


Geoffrey turned around, saw Janus standing in the doorway. “Hey,” he said. He’d forgotten about Janus.

“Hey.” Janus came out and hugged him. “Are you okay?” he asked.

Geoffrey nodded. “Yeah. I’m fine. Sorry I disappeared. I was with Giacomo.”

“They told us he’d wanted to see you. They never said you’d be gone so long.”

Oh. Janus was worried about him. Geoffrey had been fine, happy, even. And he’d been worrying people he cared about. “I’m sorry,” he repeated. “I didn’t mean to worry anyone.”

“It’s okay. Come inside? It’s cold out here.”

Was it? Geoffrey hadn’t noticed. “Okay.”

He let Janus lead him into the house, through the kitchen, where lots of servants were working normally, like nothing had changed. Geoffrey didn’t know if anything had changed. Things had gone back to normal, hadn’t they? Things were normal between him and Giacomo again. Sort of.

What did it mean to be sort of normal?

“How was your time with Giacomo?” Janus asked, holding Geoffrey’s hand.

“Uh. It was good. We made up.”

Janus smiled, but he didn’t look happy. He was probably a little jealous, but he didn’t need to be. “I’m glad to hear that.”

“It’s okay,” Geoffrey assured him. “I’m not…it doesn’t change anything. I still love you.”

It felt weird, saying that to someone when he’d just said it to…wait, had Geoffrey said it to Giacomo before they’d parted? Had Giacomo said it to him? How had they separated without telling each other they loved each other?

It didn’t mean they didn’t, Geoffrey told himself, shivering now in the warm house. It didn’t mean they didn’t.

“I didn’t think you didn’t,” Janus told him. “Javier’s up in the room drawing you a bath. Is there anything you want for lunch?”

Was it lunchtime? Geoffrey had had breakfast with Giacomo. “Something hot. Something from the east.” They hadn’t eaten anything eastern the last two days. That was weird, wasn’t it? Giacomo liked eastern food.

He’d been raised in Hawk’s Roost, so it was exotic for him.

“Sure,” Janus said. “I’ll run back down and tell the kitchen once you’re in the room.”

Geoffrey smiled. Janus was so weird. “You can go now. I can find the room on my own.”

“I don’t think you should be by yourself right now,” Janus told him simply.

“Giacomo, I’m perfectly capable of being by myself,” Geoffrey laughed. His laugh died in his throat. He looked at Janus. “Sorry. I just…got used to saying his name.”

“Yeah,” Janus said, holding Geoffrey’s hand tighter. He walked Geoffrey all the way to his bedroom, pushed the door open. Javier was inside, and he hugged Geoffrey as soon as he walked in. “He’s a little tired,” Janus told Javier. “I’m going to go tell the kitchen what we want for lunch.”

“Okay, thanks,” Javier said, as Geoffrey hugged him back. “You’re okay?”

“I’m okay,” Geoffrey said, feeling distant. Janus had left. “I called Janus Giacomo just now. I think I hurt his feelings.”

“He’ll be okay. You’re freezing, come get in the bath.”

“Sure,” muttered Geoffrey, following Javier. “I’m sorry I was gone for so long.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m just glad you’re back.”

“Giacomo and I aren’t fighting anymore, though,” Geoffrey told him.

“That’s good,” said Javier, sounding upset. Geoffrey wanted to ask why he was upset, but Javier started undressing him and then walked him into the bath, and the water was so warm that Geoffrey needed a minute to get used to it. By the time he sat down he’d forgotten about it.

It was nice to be home. It was nice to be with people who wanted to take care of him. It was nice to be in his room.

Geoffrey wasn’t sure why he started crying, but it was nice that Javier was there to hug him while he did.

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2 thoughts on “Noble, 46

  1. ‘“What are you going to do about that?” There was no way Giacomo was going to let that happen. He’d gone through too much and sacrificed too much to become king. They all had. He was never going to let that kind of power go, not Giacomo. Not Geoffrey’s king.’

    Wow. There’s a lot to unpack here. Projection, the sunken cost fallacy, idealization, obsession, possessiveness, codependency…it just perfectly summarizes how fucked up Geoffrey is.

    ‘“Giacomo and I aren’t fighting anymore, though,” Geoffrey told him.

    “That’s good,” said Javier, sounding upset. Geoffrey wanted to ask why he was upset‘

    He’s upset because your relationship with Giacomo is deeply unhealthy and making up with him is therefore a BAD THING, Geoffrey.


    1. That one paragraph really does sum up all of Geoffrey’s issues all at once, doesn’t it? And it’s funny how all of them are Giacomo-shaped.

      Maybe someday he’ll even realize that. But since “I just spent two days with Giacomo and now I’m crying uncontrollably” doesn’t seem to be a hint for him, he might need a slightly more obvious clue, haha.

      Thank you!


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