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He woke in the middle of the night to feel it: a small hand, hesitant and unsure, lightly caressing his abdomen.

"Seimiya?"

"Oji-sama."

The sheets shifted; he felt her press a small kiss, featherlight against the nape of his neck. He would brush it off as something pure and chaste were it not for the touch of her hand, gently caressing his skin and then carefully sliding a flat palm into the waistband of his pants. He felt her hand slipping over his growing hardness. Clever fingers wrapped around the base of his shaft; he felt her kiss his neck and press her body against his back.

She has grown bold since their wedding night; awestruck, he turned to face her, somewhat surprised to see her already slipping out of her nightgown.

"What a strange turn of events," Damiya murmured, and Seimiya blushed, brightly. "What is it that my Seimiya wants me to do?"

"Will you make love to me?" she asked, shyly. Damiya smiled.

He slipped inside her with one smooth stroke, marveling a little at how warm and wet she felt. She was far from the blushing virgin on their wedding night, but even now she seemed like one large blush, her face red and the tops of her breasts flushed with obvious arousal. "Oji-sama," she said, as he began to move with long, hard strokes. Her voice was breathy in his ears. "Oji-sama, you feel so good."

He wrapped his arms around her and buried his face into her neck, thrusting and marveling at the tight, slick wetness that clenched around his cock, the pleasure of her wet heat growing and building. Her lips were parted and there was a growing blush on her cheeks; he pushed himself on his arms for better traction, hefting her legs around his shoulders and leaning her forward.

"Oh!" Seimiya said, and he could see the pebbled hardness of her nipples, which twanged and stiffened in the cool night air. Because he could not help himself, Damiya leaned forward and licked her nipple, palming her other breast in his hand.

She was grinding against his pelvis, their bodies shifted so that his full weight was resting on her clit. He heard her gasp softly and strain her thighs and pelvis beneath him. Between her soft pants and the slick wet noises between her legs, the sound of their lovemaking alone would be enough to push him over the edge. But he held on, slowing his pace just before his pleasure crested its peak; reaching a hand between their bodies, he pressed his fingers into the tiny bud of her clit. The feel of it made her squirm and gasp, a startled jerk of her hips beneath his.

He began thrusting in earnest, and wet squelching sounds, shameless and obscene, filled the room along with her pleasured moans. Damiya kissed her neck and jaw, pressing his cheek to her sweat-dampened forehead and feeling her hot breath fanning against his skin. Her eyes were closed and her face was red with pleasure, and she was moaning helplessly, softly. Her arms wrapped tight around his body; he could feel her hips rising, meeting his. And though he tried to hold on, tried to fight the mounting pleasure which was growing and crowding his thoughts, he tipped over the edge and spilled inside her, pulsing hard and emptying his seed.

And Seimiya stiffened beneath him, coming undone at the height of his pleasure, letting out a soft, startled cry, before her body jerked helplessly beneath his. He felt her contractions clenching and unclenching, her hips and upper body bucking, until she fell back, sated, breathing heavily as she rode out the last aftershocks of her own orgasm.

She beamed up at him, eyes soft and loving, as she reached out to tenderly brush back a strand of hair that had fallen over his face.

His eyes were blind with tenderness. Quietly he gathered her up and held her, kissing her lips and face and holding her close. She fell asleep nestled against him, her arms draped around his chest and pressing her face against the side of his neck. "I love you," she said, and she smiled as she closed her eyes.

 

*****

 

It was dark when she woke, but instead of being curled up against Damiya's body, she was lying alone in the bed. Quietly she reached out a hand to the side of his mattress and found the sheets to be cool.

Her uncle was sitting at the edge of the bed, looking out the window.

"What is it?" Seimiya asked. Quietly she sat beside him and touched the back of his neck with the pads of her fingers. It was a gesture meant to be comforting, but Damiya flinched as if he had been branded. "Oji-sama?"

"I cannot do this anymore," he said.

"Do what?" Seimiya said. She slid her arms around him; he pulled away.

"Seimiya," Damiya said, and he looked at her. "There is something I must tell you. It...has to do with your grandmother."

"Grandmother?" Seimiya said. Damiya looked at her with terrible eyes.

"I loved your grandmother; there was no subject more loyal than I," Damiya said. "I have...done things. Things that would make ordinary men flinch, to keep this country safe. Your grandmother was blind to the dangers lurking around her. It fell to me to keep her safe.

"The Wajyaku were threatening to rise. They wanted to depose your grandmother and put the Grand Duke in power. I warned her of the growing threat, but she was convinced he was a steadfast ally. There was nothing I could do to convince her otherwise."

Damiya blinked, searching for his words. "It was my men who staged the assassination attempt," Damiya said, quietly. "I...only wanted to frighten her. Give her a good scare, give her a reason to listen. I never intended for her to get so injured," Damiya said, and he closed his eyes. "I never intended for her to die."

"You...you killed Oba-sama?"

"It was an accident." Damiya's voice was hoarse.

"But...but they said it was the Wajyaku! She was attacked by touda, no one else commands them--"

"My men have," Damiya said. Seimiya started to cry.

"Why are you telling me this?" Seimiya said, agonized. Damiya hung his head.

"Because I love you, Seimiya." A tear slipped; he bowed his head, long strands of hair falling over his eyes. "If you wish to execute me as a traitor, I will gladly accept death with open arms. But I cannot deceive you any longer." He faltered. His voice broke. "I married you so I could protect you. You were a virgin queen, young and untested, being courted by our enemies who would otherwise wish for war. I could never be a man to you, Seimiya. A living, breathing man, waking beside you and reaching out for you. But you still reached out for me. Took me as a man and gave your love to me. You have given me all the happiness the world could offer, and all I have given you is nothing but despair."

Seimiya began to weep. Slowly, hugging her arms. "What should I do?" Seimiya said. She cried, softly. "What is it that you want me to do?"

"A good queen would execute me." Damiya's voice was soft. Seimiya began to sob.

He wanted to hold her. Wanted to ball her up in his arms and keep her safe. But he had no right. He stayed, head bowed and shoulders hunched, prostrate and clenching his hands.

And then he felt it; an unsure touch, hesitantly brushing the side of his arm.

Damiya looked up. Seimiya's eyes were red and her face was streaked with tears.

She hugged him, pressing her face into his chest and wrapping her arms around him, tightly. Tears filled his eyes as he circled her with his arms.

"Seimiya--"

"I love you." Her voice was muffled against his shirt. "I know it was an accident. You did what you thought was right."

"Seimiya."

"Oji-sama." And she kissed him. Over and over again.

Now she was crying softly against his shoulder, letting him settle her against his chest and rock her slowly. She felt warm and good, and he took comfort in the feel of her body pressed against his chest, and the feel of her arms wrapping around him. He knew he did not deserve it; he hesitated a moment before stroking her hair.

"What should we do now?" Seimiya asked, quietly.

"Nothing," Damiya said. "The men who took part were already culled."

"You killed them?"

Damiya hesitated. "Yes," he said. "No one else knows."

Seimiya shuddered against him, and clung to him harder.

"I will remove myself from court," Damiya said. "Surround yourself with different advisors. I do not want you to think," and he closed his eyes. "I do not want you to think I'm with you because I want power."

"No, Oji-sama," Seimiya said. "I need you to advise me."

Damiya hung his head. "You would take the advice of the man who killed your grandmother?" he said. Seimiya clasped his hands and nodded, earnestly.

"I trust you," Seimiya said. Her eyes were puffy and red. They slid upwards, meeting his.

They arranged themselves back into bed, Seimiya curling up against Damiya's body and Damiya holding her, tight. Tears slipped down the sides of his face as he kissed her face and eyes, and Seimiya wrapped her arms around him, pressing her face against his and crying, softly.

"How can you love me?" he asked her, softly. She kissed his eyes and his cheeks, holding him tightly. "How can you still love me, Seimiya?"

"Because I do," Seimiya said. He felt her hand cupping the side of his cheek, and as she kissed him Damiya's wicked body hardened in response.

"I'm sorry," he said, but she pressed against him, grinding her sex against his hardness and kissing him harder.

"Make love to me again, Oji-sama."

He looked at her, wonderingly. "Seimiya," he said. And a tear slipped down her face as she smiled.