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To Die Loved Is To Have Lived

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AN: Because Fosca, after everything she went through, deserved more than just swelling music and dimming light. I borrowed a few lines from the great Sondheim.

"To die loved is to have lived," Fosca told Giorgio, capturing his mouth in a kiss. She melted into him, her strength fading, when she felt his lips move against hers.

"Fosca?" Giorgio asked, concerned as he caught her falling form. He carried her to her bed, laying her down gently. He stepped back, feeling responsible for her failing strength. "I told you we can't."

"No," Fosca breathed, pulling him closer to her bedside. She kissed his hand the way she had to many times before. "Don't leave. I-I don't care if this is my- my- my undoing. If you really do love me, if you'll have me, I want-" She struggled to find words as she attempted to pull Giorgio closer.

Giorgio climbed onto the bed beside her, leaning down to kiss her, to assure her. He traced her bottom lip with his tongue and wasn't all-together surprised when she parted her lips to grant his entrance.

Fosca kissed him back, her love for him masking her inexperience. She stroked his cheek as he deepened their kiss.

When Giorgio broke the kiss, he saw tears pooling in Fosca's eyes. "What is it? Fosca, what's wrong? Did I hurt you? Do you want me to stop?" he asked.

You understand this woman could never be your lover.

"God… You are so beautiful," Fosca repeated before she covered her tears with a hand, her free hand reaching up to caress Giorgio's cheek.

"What's wrong?" he asked again.

"I know I am… Not beautiful, Giorgio, but I do love you," Fosca told him through her tears.

Giorgio smiled, moving her hand to kiss her again. "And I love you, Fosca. But you are beautiful." He kissed a line from her jaw to her neck before sucking gently on her collarbone.

Fosca's eyes fluttered close as she tilted her head back. "Giorgio," she panted, her body entirely not used to the sensations he was causing.

She felt him tugging gently but deliberately at the ties to her nightgown as he continued to lavish her neck with feather-light kisses. As the knots gave, she was gripped with a sudden fear.

Thinking you'd look at me, thinking you'd be repelled by what you saw.

She leaned on her elbows to watch him, to gauge his reaction. If he leaves me now, it'll kill me.

Giorgio gently pulled the fabric to reveal her shoulder, pale from her poor health but surprisingly soft and warm to his touch.

I have a fever, I always do.

He kissed the newly exposed skin as he deftly pulled her gown open, running his hands down her sides. Fosca moaned lightly in response, falling heavily into her pillows.

Giorgio pulled away to remove her pants and pull his shirt over his head before closing the distance between them by kissing her again. She responded passionately, pulling him atop her where he settled himself gently between her thighs, never breaking the kiss.

"I love you," he told her before slowly, gently, entering her.

Fosca closed her eyes tightly, biting her lower lip. It was almost too much: the man she loved so much here with her now, telling her he loved her.

"What is it? Did I hurt you?" Giorgio asked, panicking slightly.

"No! No," she answered, her hands cupping his face. She kissed him desperately, grinding her hip upward in a desperate attempt to take more of him in despite the pain she felt.

"What are you doing?" he asked, breaking their kiss.

"I just-I thought-I mean, Clara-" she tried to explain. She didn't know how to tell him. She wanted so badly for him to feel pleasure as she was sure he did when he had been with Clara.

Clara-who had Giorgio and his heart for so long; who had a child; the beautiful, experienced Clara-surely caused Giorgio great pleasure and surely took in more of him than she could.

"No. I'm not with Clara. I'm with you, Fosca. I love you," Giorgio smiled, kissing her gently.

Fosca blinked up at him, stroking his cheek. "I want-To please you, Giorgio."

"And you are! By letting me be with you, by loving me." Giorgio kissed her neck again, sucking gently,. As his hands caressed her breasts. He started moving inside of her, agonizingly slow.

Immediately, Fosca sank into her pillows once more, her ebony tresses splayed across her pillow and framing her flushed face. She arched into his touch as she grabbed fistfuls of her pillows. Another moan escaped her lips, "Oh, Giorgio!"

Giorgio fought the urge to shush her- her cousin already thought he was taking advantage of her, he didn't need to hear their lovemaking-knowing this was her first time and not wanting to ruin it. He also realized this was likely to be their only coupling.

He glanced up at Fosca's face. Her eyes were half-closed and her lips parted as she panted and moaned with every move he made.

"Are-you-okay?" he asked her between his deepening thrusts, unable to forget for very long her weak condition.

"Yes," she gulped, her head thrown back, pressing into her many pillows. Then Fosca froze beneath him, her breath catching.

"Fosca? What? What is it?" Giorgio feared he had pushed too hard, had hurt her.

She motioned to her throat once before she opened her mouth. "I felt a scream welling up and I didn't want to ruin the moment," she explained in hushed tones, scared the scream she had felt within her would escape.

"Are you sure it was the same kind of scream that accompanies your fits?" Giorgio asked, a smile tugging at his lips.

"What else would it be?" Fosca asked.

"Well… Some women are just loud. In bed, I mean." Giorgio had to admit that before tonight, he never would have pegged Fosca as one of those women. Not that he had thought about the noises she might make while making love.

At least, not extensively.

"Just… I promise I won't be scared away if you scream, Fosca," he assured her. She nodded and he began moving again.

Before long, Giorgio felt Fosca tense beneath him before letting out a loud, deep moan of pleasure as her body shivered violently with her climax, "Oh, oh! Giorgi- Oh!"

He continued to move slowly, her walls constricting around him as he eased her down from her shuddering peak. He was surprised to find, though, that her orgasm had brought him close to his own. He bit gently into her shoulder to stifle his own groan of pleasure. She gasped in pleasure when he released into her.

As their breathing returned to normal, he pulled out of her and laid beside her. "You are beautiful," he told her. "Lying here, flushed with the exertion of our lovemaking. You're glowing, Fosca. And I love you."

Fosca smiled, "Thank you, Giorgio, my love. Stay the night with me? We can dream together."

Giorgio pulled her close to him before dragging her blanket over their sweat-covered forms. "Of course, my love."

Fosca quickly drifted off to sleep in his arms, her head now pillowed by his chest. Giorgio ran his fingers through her long, silky tresses, knowing it was only hours till his scheduled duel with her cousin. He wondered idly if the soldiers would say anything having no doubt heard her screamed moan of pleasure-a scream that could not be mistaken for one of her usual screams by anyone. He closed his eyes and sank into sleep, his arms still clutching Fosca close.

To die loved is to have lived.