fandom: the borgias
pairing/character(s): cesare borgia
disclaimer: not mine.
word count: 661
summary: In the end, Cesare always gets what he wants.
notes: Borrowing heavily from historical canon. Prompt: disobedience. For hauntes.
Honour thy Father.
In his House, that one commandment alone stands absolute and Father’s word is law.
Loyalty to God is secondary.
“You will be a Cardinal.”
Rodrigo says, Rodrigo commands, and Cesare is stripped of all but resentment and disgust. He is gone and done, days plagued by servitude and spun into wisps of spider threads.
But on his face, there is etched that eternal, acquiesced smile. That acerbic intent astutely disguised. Covered and enveloped in placating words (empty words) and noble assurances.
I will not fail you, Father.
So it is.
Cesare does not make mistakes.
He is meticulous and sagacious (in simony, murder and adultery). Like his father, like his mother, like his siblings (sister dearest).
The Borgia family is infallible.
And he is especially wary of propriety. Being the first child, the eldest child, the anticipated child, Cesare understands his position all too well. Familial loyalties – Father’s whims – come first. He is clever and ambitious to that end, but not avaricious (yet is).
What a Borgia wants, a Borgia always gets.
Because that was indoctrinated into him with precisely polished acicular crystals (never tin). And Cesare is a true Borgia.
He always gets what he wants.
History’s greatest men have toyed with it, mastered it. Used it to achieve their ends with little care for the means. And so Cesare sets about learning it, embracing it.
War begets greatness, and greatness begets infamy.
Cesare need only find a war to toy with.
“A united Italy, you say?”
Machiavelli twists his lips, swirls his goblet of wine at the thought – a thought well beyond their time – and ambitious is left unsaid.
Nevertheless, this Italy will be his. Riding across it, shedding blood onto it, engraving his name into it, Cesare can feel it call to his very desires and will. He will unite (conquer) it all, as none have before, and it will cement his name – his family’s name – into history more than any Pope could aspire to.
“Genius favours you still, Cardinal.”
A grounding reminder from an all too perceptive admirer. Cesare knows what he must do, without qualms and without thought.
And he executes this with all too divine precision.
He is the first man ever to renounce the position of Cardinal.
The Pope is furious, the injustice against God – against him – palpable. His plans lay in tatters but Cesare does not retreat, does not stand down, not for a second. Playing on Father’s hopes, his weaknesses, he weaves grander visions still and presents ignored opportunities that cut through the stifling clouds of rage thick in the air.
Putting words to action, Cesare wears his accomplishments proud and proves his worth beyond that of a mere servant of God. And Rodrigo is left mollified, speechless, at the unexpected turn of luck and fortune.
Thinking, maybe, this child is flawless.
Thinking, maybe, he might actually be of some use.
(But lately, he – Holy Father and “aging king” – finds himself at a loss over the future and wonders if he is losing his mind.)
Milan is the first to fall.
Followed by Imola.
And all the while Naples, wonderful Naples, long coveted and sought by France and Spain looms on the horizon, ripe for the picking.
Little by little Italy is seized and plundered. Her cities kneel before him like her humbled sons and daughters (of House Orsini and Malatesta, of Sforza and Montefeltro). And he is ever relentless, ever ruthless in his pursuits even as his name – his, Cesare Borgia – becomes known to all.
Being the first child, the eldest child, the anticipated child, Cesare does not tolerate indolence or consideration. Because that subverts his position, his wants and wishes, which he simply cannot allow.
Aut caesar aut nihil.
Glory eternal beckons with every conquest.
In the end, Cesare always gets what he wants.
title: for which no sweeter psalms were fit
fandom: the borgias
disclaimer: not mine.
word count: 659
summary: She never stays, no matter how loud or how fervent his confessions become.
notes: Implied incest a plenty. Prompt: silk. For corleones.
Fantasy is not reality.
He knows it’s not and he’s glad of that. If it were then he would be–
Scruples are seldom evident in his family, but virtuous behaviour is never castigated. It usually didn’t cross their minds (rarely, not). Still, Cesare must maintain a degree of rectitude – for society to view.
Because only sinners mind another’s sins.
And yet for all his holy and sacred vows, there is a thing twisting – twisted – in his head. Caustic, corrosive, elusive, reclusive. He can think, and read, and make smart, rational retorts. Can tell (for the most part) the difference between right and wrong.
Even so the thing is telling him: feel her up, kiss her hard. And the other (reasonable) part of his mind is saying: no, no, that would not be right.
For blood is thicker than water.
And that can be taken to mean one of two entirely different things. Damn axioms, maximums and minimums. Society never tires playing the highs and lows, doling out standards and expectations and silently reminding him: she is your sis–
Ending that trail of thought, Cesare bows his head and recites another prayer.
A wedding, her wedding and he is playing priest–
is steadily losing his mind.
O clemens, o pia,
o dulcis Virgo María.
Vows exchanged, she spins and dances away in a twirl of silk and lace. What should have been out of sight (out of mind) only not, he soon catches up and pulls her into a dance.
Dotes on her, loves her like no other ever could and contemplates the thousand different ways to kill a man (he’ll slice her husband’s head and neck, nick and clean, and offer it to others as a warning).
He smiles cruelly.
She laughs curiously.
Thrown back into the now Cesare grips her hand, grips it hard, checking to see she is actually there. With him.
Tangible and not a nightmarish fantasy.
She swims in his dreams – often – gentle strokes and bare, bony shoulders. She weaves through every layer of wicked wishing and insistent pining, whispers against his lips–
“Do you love me, Cesare?”
“You, I love most. Love best.”
Her eyes sparkle and her smile widens, all unbeknownst coquettish charms as she begins to pull away. She never stays, no matter how loud or how fervent his confessions become.
In a panic Cesare reaches out at the last second, awakens with a cry and to tangled sheets.
The feeling of silk ghosts across his hand.
Unlike Father, he does not make a habit of confessing. And yet he finds himself on his knees more often than not as of late.
Confiteor Deo omnipotenti,
et vobis fratres,
quia peccavi nimis
As if God can hear him, as if He can absolve him of his sins and affliction.
Make him wholly holy.
Someone laughs at that; loud, cynical. And Cesare thinks for a moment it is him.
The dream ends and a new one begins.
It is different this time round, the mood sombre as a melancholic twang cuts into the air. An omen, a curse, a cautionary note, he worries over the change even as she appears before him, arms wide and blue eyes pleading.
“Cesare,” he hears her calling, “I need you.”
At her uttered words he feels his skin peel back; raw, crisp, burned up to a char.
Realises all too belatedly that he is beyond redemption.
Because he is already making his way towards her, every step slow and heavy with anticipation. And everything is entirely too-too real as he parts the layers of silk, exposing the pale skin beneath as he dips his head and kisses her purple (the colour of royalty, of emperors past).
Like Caligula, like Augustus before him.
And there’s a whisper and there’s a blur – Lucrezia – and it all ends with a single sigh, as soft as the silk coiled in his palms.