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not a matter of if you love me

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Sex is a tool, because everything is a tool.

Smiles, frowns, carefully faked laughter, kind or cutting words, these are part of his arsenal as much as his skeletons and spellbooks are. Every way he presents himself to other people is meant to manipulate them for his own ends. Almost nothing Nessiah does can be called completely natural.

Nessiah does not favor sex as a primary means of getting what he wants. It has its uses, but all in all he prefers to be more subtle and less physical.

It’s lucky for him that his sex drive is so low, and so it never gets in the way of his life. Even when he was still… a long time ago, he wanted to share that experience primarily with people he cared for.

Nessiah has very few people he cares for.

One such person is Gulcasa.

He’s manipulated Gulcasa enough, over the years, before Gulcasa even had that name. It would be easy to dismiss sex between them as a tactic to make Gulcasa even more strongly attached to him, even more likely to heed his words.

Nessiah might even like to think that way. But tacticians are not in the business of denying the truth, however unpleasant, and on some level, he knows.

The feelings that drive Gulcasa to kiss him, to unbind him from his chains and undo the robes he hides in, to make love to him: these are feelings Nessiah shares. Perhaps not in the same intensity, almost certainly not in the same way, but the underlying feelings are there.

If he didn’t feel the same way, Gulcasa would never have been able to come near his bed. Nessiah would have shaken his head and cut down the possibility in the most polite, but firm way possible, and that would have been the end of that.

If he didn’t feel the same way, Nessiah suspects Gulcasa’s tenderness would mean nothing to him, bring neither comfort at being so cared for nor guilt at his own deceptions.

But instead, Nessiah finds he spends half his nights lying beside Gulcasa, listening to his uneasy breathing and wondering what dreams plague him, wishing there were some way to ease his rest before finally falling into dreamless sleep himself.

Or sometimes, when Nessiah is off guard, Gulcasa will lift his head with bleary eyes and ask him, “What’s the matter?”

And Nessiah will always, always say, with a smile just a touch more gentle than the one he usually wears, “Nothing at all. Go back to sleep.”

Gulcasa will eventually drift off to sleep again, but not before pulling him just a bit closer, so that once Gulcasa is fast asleep Nessiah can indulge just the tiniest bit and rest his head in the crook of his neck.. The position is more comfortable than it has any right to be, and they both sleep late.

Nessiah can’t control his feelings. He can only strain to keep his feelings from controlling him.