Noble, 56

Maria DiGorre was Dahlia’s sister-in-law, Felix’s widow. She seemed nice, which wasn’t as important as the fact that she seemed smart. “Is your brother going to hurt my son?” she asked Geoffrey point blank.

“No,” Geoffrey promised her. He and Giacomo had already talked about this. Giacomo wasn’t planning to hurt Francis, the baby Maria was holding. And Geoffrey had made sure he knew that was a good idea. “He might try to teach him to talk with his mouth full, it’s a habit I’ve never managed to get him to break. But he’s not going to hurt him.”

Giacomo would also definitely fuck Francis DiGorre, but not until he was old enough.

Noble, 55

“Don’t drink too much,” Javier said quietly, hand on Geoffrey’s arm.

Geoffrey nodded, holding his wineglass. He was only part way through his first one. “I won’t,” he promised.

“And try not to spend the whole night staring at Giacomo, he’s fine.”

Giacomo was not fine, but he was better than he’d been the other night. He was smiling when it was appropriate and talking to people normally and acting like he always did, like he’d never had a mental breakdown in Geoffrey’s bed.

Noble, 54

When the knock sounded at the door, Geoffrey didn’t answer right away. He was too busy kissing Javier, whose arms were around him. Geoffrey had his hand in Javier’s pants, undoing his loincloth and playing with him to get him hard.

There was another knock, and Geoffrey ignored that too, as Javier climbed into his lap to kiss him harder. Geoffrey slid his other hand down the back of Javier’s pants, gripping one of his ass cheeks.

At the third knock, Janus looked up from his book. “Are you going to let him in?”

Noble, 53

“Not to be a jerk, but when the hell can we go home?” Janus asked, idly tossing a pillow up and down as he lay on the bed.

“Soon, I’m sure,” Geoffrey said, though he wasn’t at all sure.

“Cool. I just think that if Dahlia and Giacomo were going to hang out in Three Hills all this time and make us wait with them, we could have gone on a trip to somewhere else in Dolovai. I know I said I was cool not to go on a trip but that was when I thought we were going home to do important shit.”

“We’ll go on a trip, then,” Geoffrey promised.

“What, no, I don’t want to because it’s too fucking cold, remember?” Janus turned his head, looking at Geoffrey. The pillow fell on his face and he pulled it aside. “We’ll go on a trip in the summer. Like normal rich people.”

Noble, 52

It was nighttime, it was cold, and Janus was in Geoffrey’s lap kissing him. That last part had happened kind suddenly while they’d been trying to figure out how many hills were in Three Hills and Geoffrey was used to not totally remembering how something horny had started, but he hadn’t had any alcohol tonight.

He wasn’t complaining though, because he had his hot husband in his lap and they were kissing and the last few days hadn’t sucked as much as they could have, so everything was okay. Or as okay as it could be. “I’m sorry,” Geoffrey said, between kisses.

“Stop being sorry for things,” Janus said, lifting Geoffrey’s shirt. “Trying to make out with you.”

Noble, 51

Geoffrey had expected to be snuck into the Dolovin palace through a servants’ entrance and taken to some quiet clandestine room to have his secret meeting with the queen. Instead, the servants who appeared took him to a nice restaurant not far from his inn, and Geoffrey and Javier were waved through the red and white front room to a private dining room in the back.

The table was already set and the queen of Dolovai was already sitting there, and the door shut behind Geoffrey. “Good afternoon, your Highness,” said Geoffrey, bowing.

“And to you, Lord Geoffrey,” said Georgina ven Sancte. She was a tall, fair woman with a stately face and a strong neck. “Please, sit. The food is still hot. There’s a setting for your companion as well.”

Noble, 50

When Gabrielle and Franz ven Sancte walked out of the First Church of the Blessed after the wedding had concluded, Geoffrey slumped in his seat. It had gone just fine. Nobody had died. And that shouldn’t be Geoffrey’s criteria for a wedding going well, but formal events with lots of nobility at them always seemed to involved people dying these days.

But everyone had been on their best behaviour. Which to be fair had been easy when most of their jobs had been to sit there and watch. There was a party after that they’d all be heading to soon, and that was probably where everyone would get poisoned.

Noble, 49

“Are we going to get there in time?” Geoffrey asked Cliff, sitting at his table in the inn. They’d been forced to stop early two days in a row by snowstorms, and now they were late getting to the Dolovin capital. The wedding was tomorrow.

Cliff nodded. “The weather is hard to control but not impossible. If the snow hasn’t let up by an hour before sunrise, Master Gaston and Antoine and I will do a spell.”

Geoffrey nodded. The inn was warm, but the snow outside made it feel cold. He was glad he didn’t live in the north. “How hard will that be for you?”

“Doesn’t matter.” Cliff smiled. “We’ll get you there no matter what.”

Noble, 48

“Do you think the wedding will be bilingual?” asked Janus, head on Geoffrey’s shoulder.

“Probably not?” Geoffrey shrugged the other shoulder. “Maybe. But it’ll probably just be in Daolo.”

“Yeah.” Janus sighed. “Sorry, Dalton.”

“It’s okay.”

“You don’t know Daolo?” Geoffrey asked. “We could teach you some before we get there. It’ll be another week and a half. If you want.”

“I mean…” Dalton shrugged. “Sure, I guess. I’ve been to weddings before, so I can probably figure it out. In the eyes of God I hold you to these vows, in the name of God I bless your union, by the grace of God I declare you married. World peace, amen.”

Noble, 47

“They’re perfectly safe as far as my master can tell,” said Cliff, looking at the necklaces Franz had mailed them.

“As far as he can tell?” Javier prompted, as Geoffrey took his. They were in a small room in an inn—not the Spongecake—that Giacomo and Dahlia had wanted them to teleport from to avoid a security risk to the castle.

“Well, it seems like Ronaldo didn’t make them on his own. They have magecraft in them. It’s a bit hard to find a mage to verify on short notice, but Master Gaston says we can trust Ronaldo.” Cliff shrugged. “Wizards can’t do teleportation magic, so he would have needed someone’s help.”

“I don’t like that we don’t know for sure,” Javier said, arm around Geoffrey. He didn’t like a lot of things about this, including that it was happening.