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sposa e tesoro

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It was late at night once the doors to their room had been firmly shut, and Susanna could not help but wonder how short their sleep would be before the dawn. Was there ever a bride more exhausted before her wedding night had even truly begun? She could not think of one.

“Ah, my treasure, what an arm you have!” Figaro said, and Susanna bit her lip and turned in a flurry of skirts, only to see the silhouette of her husband – her husband! – holding a hand to his face, where she knew there was redness marked across his cheekbones. His handsome cheekbones, she could not help but think to herself, but she hurried to him and lifted his hand, peering at his face as best as she could in the dim shadows. Had it bruised? She couldn't tell.

“Oh, my Figaretto – does it hurt quite a lot?” Susanna said, feeling embarrassed when she thought of how she had thoroughly redressed him only an hour ago, but the rumble of her husband's laughter dissolved the crease in her brow as Figaro clasped her hand and pressed it to his chest.

“I would take all the blows in the world to know I had so loyal a wife,” Figaro said, and Susanna smiled up at him, her eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness of the room. Either that, or she could hear the smile in his voice, imagine it on his face... it made a shiver run through her, but even with that delicious sensation, the exhaustion of the day seemed to collapse on her all at once. “Besides,” Figaro was saying, “the master also saw fit to take a swing at me tonight – though I think he was aiming at Cherubino, the little rake – and he hits much harder than you.”

“What confusion there was tonight,” Susanna said, rubbing her forehead with her other hand and slowly leading Figaro to their bed. (Their bed – and again the thrill ran through her, but she was too tired to do much more than sink onto the edge of it, waiting until Figaro had also sat to lean against him.) Figaro put his arm around her, tucking her head under his chin. “I half hatched the plan and even then, it got turned around... somehow. I don't understand it,” she said, shifting away from him and shaking her head. “This entire day has been nothing but turns, and I'm in danger of becoming dizzy!”

“Well, now we both can rest,” Figaro said, leaning back onto his hands, dipping his head back for a moment before sitting back up to look over at her. Susanna could hear the bedcovers rustle as he moved. “Though I feel I must ask your forgiveness, my dear,” he added, and Susanna bolted upright, all traces of tiredness gone in a flash.

“What? What for?” she said, thinking back to that moment of fury and heartache in the garden, when she thought her newly-wed husband was already ready to forsake her. That pain flashed in her chest again, but more keenly this time. “What have you done?” She heard Figaro move again, and then his hands were taking both of hers. Susanna resisted for a moment, but could not bring herself to pull them away.

“No, nothing like what you're thinking,” Figaro said, and Susanna let out a long breath. “I just must confess the crime of jealousy – when I heard you had given the Count your pin, I thought that you had been secretly meeting him behind my back. It was ungrateful of me to even think it – seeing the master beg for forgiveness has made me realize that I am in need of some of my own.” Susanna more felt than saw Figaro shift off the bed, and she squinted to see that he had knelt in front of her on the floor, still clasping her hands. “May I ask your pardon, my Susanna?”

Susanna stared at him for a few silent seconds, then a wide smile broke out across her face. “Oh, is that all?” she said, laughing, and she tugged Figaro back up beside her onto the bed. “You had my forgiveness already, but here it is again, my dearest fool,” she said, leaning towards where she thought his lips would be, kissing his cheekbone and nose before finally finding his lips and drinking deep of them. “I suppose today is a lesson to all jealous husbands,” she said, her voice teasing, once they pulled apart.

“One well-taught, and how complimentary you are,” Figaro said, as he reached for her once more. Susanna felt herself melt into his kiss, and only finally broke apart to take a breath. His hands were firm and steady against her back, and her own hands had wandered up into his hair. She twirled one of his dark curls around her finger.

“Figaro?” she whispered, and her husband hummed in response. “Do you think the Count has truly learned his lesson? That is – I have no desire to be pursued again. I worry he may forget tonight and once more set his hunt towards your own Susanna.”

“If he does, that is counted as a more weighty crime, going after a woman already married,” Figaro said. “But if so... then we shall tell your mistress and then she will set him right, or repay him with more embarrassment.” He kissed Susanna's nose, and she smiled despite herself. “Ah, there we are – keep smiling, my treasure. I think that you are safe now. And while I'm right here, you are definitely safe,” Figaro added, and Susanna sought out his eyes in the dark.

“How bold and brave you are, my Figaro,” Susanna said, half teasing and half fond. “Such boldness for a man already knocked over by the Count once tonight.” A surprised laugh burst out of Figaro, but he couched it in seeming offense.

“Thank you for wounding me,” he said, and Susanna giggled. Figaro could only keep up the pretense for a moment before he, too, was laughing, and she drew close to him. He wrapped his arms around her as their laughter faded into content silence, and Susanna breathed in his scent as she laid her head on his shoulder.

“Well, my wife,” Figaro said, his voice pitched low, “I think we should to bed before the sun spies on us still awake.”

Susanna felt that shiver thrill through her, but she could not resist adding, “Or before the bells with their dinging summon us to our master and mistress.”

“Then I think there is no time to waste,” Figaro said, and Susanna caught another kiss from him in the darkness before they drew the sheets aside.