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Ad Meliora

Chapter Text

Syver Andersson stood before the steam coated mirror in the bathroom they shared with dorm-mate and best friend, Midori Shears. They had just come out of the shower, and with a towel wrapped loosely around their shoulders, they looked at their reflection. Syver did not rush to dry off as they had been actively procrastinating. There were places to be, an event to attend, but Syver had no desire to actually go at all. They knew that it was something they should be doing; the entire clergy would be there after all, and they had promised Midori that they would go with her.

“Who even throws a wedding party this early in the day?” Syver called out into the living room. "And in a Monday?"

They knew Midori was sitting on the couch, waiting for them to get their ass into gear. Had it not been for her insistent reminding that they needed to be downstairs and in the main church building by two, Syver would have still been in bed that afternoon. They’d slept like Hell the night before and were extremely tired. Not just mentally tired either. It was a full body tired. Syver missed their bed so much.

“Papa.” Midori called back and the other couldn’t help but laugh. It was the obvious answer.

That afternoon, the leader of the church, Papa Emeritus the Third, was throwing a huge reception style party to celebrate his marriage to one of the cardinal's, Cardinal Copia to be specific. He'd invited everyone, all the siblings, priests, and non-ordained staff. Syver caught wind that Papa’s brother would be there; though they didn't believe that for a hot minute. But they had been just a little curious to see if that was going to be true or not. It had been the only thing that had kept them from flat out refusing to go.

Syver lifted the towel from their shoulders and gave it a ruffle over their amber blonde hair. It didn’t do much to dry the hair, as it grew in such thick waves, but it stopped it from dripping all over the place and would allow for them to give their entire body a once over with the towel without the need to do it again. Once done, they wrapped it around their hips and padded over to the door. Syver poked their head around the frame and looked into the living room.

“I imagine with the entire clergy being invited, Papa wouldn’t even notice a few late arriving siblings.” They said, trying to buy some extra time to be home and not be there at the reception.

"Just get dressed." Midori sighed, turning back without standing up. She looked at them with a particularly strong ‘get a move on’ vibe. She wasn’t messing around.

"I like your hair." Syver said, smiling at her.

She'd styled it up in two buns, twisting each into little tufts that fanned out. Her hair was a shiny, jet black but the ends had been bleached and dyed a lovely shade of neon green.

"Thanks Syv, but a compliment won't distract me from you delaying our going." She whispered, knowing her friend too well to know what they'd been up to. She knew their nice chat was a ploy to waste time.

"What about a compliment on your makeup?" Syver tried, amusement in their voice. "The eyeshadow matches your hair perfectly. And highlights your eye color."

"Again, thank you." She said politely. "But hurry up. We're going to be late."

Syver sighed, the sound loud and heavy. Turning back into the bathroom, they went through the motions of brushing their teeth, then scrubbing their face. They'd gotten into the habit of not washing it in the shower any longer, as their skin was starting to show signs of being too dry. They'd read that it was probably from washing it in water that was much too hot. They had also changed face wash but only from citrus scented to fragrance free. It was the same company, a decent brand that wasn't too expensive.

When Syver left the bathroom, they moved quickly towards their bedroom. They practically ran from room to room because they hated that anyone else might see them undressed, as they'd been, even though Midori was the only one there and their closest friend. Syver still felt embarrassed around her; they embarrassed around everyone.

"Please hurry up." They heard Midori say as they closed the bedroom door behind them.

"Why don't you go down now." They called back, keeping the door closed. "I'll meet you there."

"You'll just bail on me." She said. "I'll wait."

"I won't bail." They said with another sigh. "I promise."

"Do you?" She asked.

Syver pulled their bedroom door open just a crack and popped their head out. They could see the sister sitting there.

"You know damned well I only make promises I intend to keep." They said.

It was true. As much as they didn't want to go, they would be there. They told her they would and meant to keep that promise to her.

"Alright. I'll head out without you Syver but don't go wasting too much time." She said and stood up, giving her body a stretch.

"Maybe you'll run into Father Rowan?" Syver said with a little smirk.

Midori blushed a deep pink color. She had quite a crush on the man and while she tried to deny it, Syver knew her all too well. They kind of hoped he'd be there, expected him to be. They really wished Midori would get over her nerves and just talk to Father Rowan. They had feelings that it would be for the best, for the both of them.

"Wouldn't change the fact I'd like you there with me Syv." She said and neated the hem of her fitted skirt. "Don't come up with any excuses. I expect you to meet me in half an hour. Don't delay."

"I'll be twenty minutes." They said. "Promise."

"Alright. See you then." She said and turned to leave.

Syver watched her go, waiting for the door to close behind her before they set back to the task of getting dressed.


The great hall was packed by the time Syver arrived. Wall to wall people had their stomach twisting but they were there, as there was a promise to upkeep. Syver couldn't turn away to go home.

Music was playing at a nice volume. The buzz of chatter over the melody was rather deafening but the sibling tried not to think of that. The smell of food hung deliciously in the air. They'd only been a half hour late but it seemed the party was in full swing. They weaseled their way through the crowd to get to the bar. Syver didn't drink all that often but believed that a little liquid courage would help them through the duration of their stay. They had zero intentions of being there too long. Parties at the church had a tendency to run all day, into the wee hours of the next morning but they had planned to leave after cake was served.

There was a small line at the bar, so Syver quietly waited their turn. They knew that they’d be fine, as long as no one tried to strike up a conversation; as they got nervous talking to people, even acquaintances and friends. Syver much preferred to people watch and there were plenty of people to see at the reception.

They recognized so few of the guests, and it was a nice reminder how big the church had gotten. Syver had joined years before, when the clergy was about half the size. They had signed up, not long before Papa Emeritus the First had retired. They were one of only a few dozen siblings of sin that were living there at the time. The church never hurt for members to build this fantastic organization, but the numbers certainly jumped once Emeritus the Third had taken over. Sometimes Syver longed for the quieter days, but they'd never truly complain about the growth. It pleased them, pleased a lot of people, on some level, that the Dark Lord was being served so well and by so many.

"Hello? What can I get you?"

Syver looked over at a nameless ghoul that was standing by the bar. He'd been the one speaking. They'd been so caught up in their own thoughts they hadn't realized the line dwindled and it was their turn to get a drink.

"Oh, uh, vodka and soda, please." Syver whispered nervously. "Light on the ice." They smiled softly.

"Sure." The ghoul said and turned away to make the sibling’s drink.

Syver caught glimpse of Midori, surrounded by a group of other sisters. Her hair alone was enough to make her easy to spot but she was a very tall woman as well. She definitely stood out in a crowd. Sometimes Syver admired her bold looks and even bolder personality but didn't ever feel envious of it. They much preferred their own, less bold personality and their more toned down appearance. Syver liked to blend, rather than stand out. It was entirely the fault of their upbringing, but they just didn't like to draw attention to themselves.

They took their drink from the ghoul, thanking him with quiet words and another smile. They sipped it as they turned away. Syver’s eyes bugged slightly at the strong alcoholic flavor. They wondered if the ghoul had added more than only a splash of soda. It was a rather stiff drink. They didn't mind, to be honest- well, they minded maybe a little but they'd been so conditioned to just take what was given to them , they never thought to ask them to remake it. Syver knew they’d just drink it anyway.

They crossed the room, headed over to where Midori and the other sisters were huddled. They'd almost made it clear across the floor without being stopped. It was Papa Emeritus the Third who stopped them.

"I love that jacket." He said, touching Syver on the sleeve.

They didn't think it was all that an impressive jacket but it was far more dressy than their typical style. It was a vintage tuxedo jacket, with silver buttons and nicely tailored tails. The sibling paired it with a loose, floor length skirt and chunky heeled boots. The shirt underneath was a sheer white button down, worn over a fitted black camisole.

Syver didn't panic about the touch to their arm, but didn't know how to take the compliment. They smiled awkwardly and gave a little shrug.

"Thank you Papa." They said. "Congrats to you and the Cardinal." They whispered then, shifting their gaze to the floor.

"Thank you… " Papa said with a pause, like he didn't quite know what to call the sibling. Syver didn't expect him to know their name, as they were sure he was a busy man that met so many people in his day to day life.

"Sibling Syver." They whispered, lifting their other hand out to shake the dark pope’s. “Syver Andersson.”

He took their hand and kissed the back. "Lovely to meet you Sibling Syver." He said. "The whole look is charming, I might add, but truly, that jacket is stunning."

They were starting to feel even more awkward because they were not good with compliments and worse with small talk. They just smiled a little wider and lifted their drink to their lips.

"Thanks." Syver whispered. "Um, great party." They added, as if they hadn't been late and just walked in.

"You enjoy yourself." Papa said and lifted his hand off their arm.

He was gone in an instant, leaving Syver feeling a little flustered. Thankfully, Midori came rushing over to where they were standing.

"A hand kiss from Papa." She said with a grin. "How lovely. I'm jealous."

Syver turned to her. "Don't be jealous." They sighed. "He was just being kind."

"Yes, he's very kind." She said. "What did he say to you?"

"He likes my jacket." They replied and took another sip from the strong drink in their hand.

"It is a nice thing." Midori said touching the jacket, then looking her friend up and down. "You look amazing when you dress up." She giggled, stepping back.

"Yeah." They whispered. "Thanks."

Syver agreed wholeheartedly, if they had to admit it. They knew they cleaned up well. Syver truly enjoyed dressing all fancy, but in public, it felt too weird for them. Dressing up was something they enjoyed doing when they were home. Out in public, they just felt like everyone was staring. There were one too many instances in their past where they'd been told what they’d been wearing looked stupid. Syver had been put down so often, they lacked the confidence to be in public dressed in what style they liked best. They had taken a real risk in their showy outfit that afternoon. Syver was glad at least two people thought it looked nice; three people if they counted their own opinion.

"Want to grab something to eat?" Midori asked.

"Maybe in a few minutes." Syver said. "I'd like to finish my drink first."

"Want to come say hi to my work friends?" She asked next.

"Again, maybe in a few minutes. I'd really like to finish my drink first." They said, taking another sip from the glass in their hand. Another gulp, the glass was empty.


It was well after midnight. The reception had been a lot more fun than Syver had expected it to be, so they didn't ditch out after the cake was served.

The afternoon and evening was spent with with Midori and her friends. Everyone had a good time talking, drinking and eating their fill of amazing food.

Syver’s evening into night was spent on the dance floor with their friends. It was a laugh, more than anything else, and all in all a great time. Sometime during the little dance-fest, Midori gathered the courage to seek out Father Rowan and Syver wished her luck on her endeavors. They stayed with the others a little longer, keeping their anxiety at bay with frequent trips to the bar.

It was late. Very late and Syver found themselves several drinks beyond sober; tipsy and flushed, cheeks to chest. When they caught the eye of the man that held their interest since they noticed his arrival at the reception, the flush grew darker. They knew exactly who he was and they didn't think he'd remember them from their various past meetings over several years. Syver had been watching him for the better part of the night, especially after their new friends left and they settled down at a table to quietly people watch.

He was a man that was way out of Syver’s league (at least the sibling believed that), a former leader of the church. He came from money and status. Syver was a nobody (again, it was at least from their personal perspective) but it never stopped them from developing a crush years prior and maintaining a frequent fantasy of what it might be like to know the man better. It was Emeritus the Second.

When Syver saw the former dark pope walk over to the place they were sitting, they didn't think he'd been walking towards them at all. Surely there was someone else just out of view. The thing was, the late hour and the sibling’s penchant to sit alone meant there wasn't anyone else around. Emeritus was definitely walking towards the lone sibling.

"Good evening." He said, stopping at the end of the table. "May I sit?"

Syver nodded slowly and swallowed hard over a lump in their throat. They were staring at Emeritus but he didn't seem to mind.

"Hi." They said with a little drunk grin. "I'm Syver." Their words slurred and the grin widened.

"Hello Syver." Emeritus whispered, reaching out and touched the back of their hand. "We've met before, yes?"

"Yeah." Syver sighed, grinning stupidly.

Had it not been for the high levels of vodka in their system, Syver would have probably pulled their hand away quickly. Instead, they let the former pope lift the hand up and press a kiss just over their knuckles. It had been just as his brother did, hours before, but it left a different sort of feeling inside the sibling that the other kiss didn't spark.

Syver flushed a deeper shade of red and sucked their lower lip between their teeth and started to chew it nervously.

"I couldn't help but notice you sitting here by yourself. Notice that you've stayed when all your friends have gone." He said, lowering the hand back to the table top but keeping his lightly covering theirs. "And I know that you've been watching me."

He was absolutely right but Syver felt called out and blushed again. Cheeks red and burning.

"Yeah." They said again. "I'm sorry."

Emeritus shook his head. "There is nothing to be sorry for." He said.

"It's rude to stare." Syver whispered. "I shouldn't have but I couldn't stop myself." Their words were purely fueled by alcohol. They were true words but sober, they'd never have the nerve to speak them aloud.

"You may be right, Syver, but I assure you that I do not mind." The former Papa said with a grin that might have been a little nervous. The sibling didn't think the ex-pope was the nervous type so they blamed the perception of nervousness on the booze.

"You look incredibly handsome today, tonight, whatever time it is." Syver blurted out. They inwardly cursed for acting a fool.

"Thank you." Emeritus said, as if their words hadn't been foolish as all. "I must say you look stunning yourself. I don't recall ever seeing you so dressed up."

Syver’s stomach dropped and they felt like butterflies were set loose inside it. ‘He remembered me?’ They thought. They were pleased to know this. Syver would have blushed deeper if their cheeks weren't already at maximum blush status.

"No. I, well I much prefer the comfort of jeans and tshirts." They said. "I um, I thought it best to dress up for the reception."

"The fancier look suits you." He said, taking a drink from the glass in his hand. They didn't know what it was but it wasn't clear like their beverage had been. "Though if you don't mind me saying, you look best when you're most comfortable."

"I don't mind." They said with a loose smile. "Um, thank you." They thought to add.

"There aren't too many people left here." He began. "Even my brother and his husband have left. Do you mind me asking what has kept you here so late?"

Had Syver been sober they'd have laughed and said nothing. But they weren't sober, far from it actually.

"I was working up the nerve to talk to you, Emeritus." They said, rather boldly.

Emeritus smiled and Syver felt those butterflies again. The Emeritus brother had a wonderful smile.

"Is that why you're here?" He asked, and the sibling was certain that he was smiling but didn't quite believe that the pink tint to his cheeks was really there.

"Yes, Emeritus." They replied. "I think maybe I fancy you." The words left their mouth without hesitation and surely without thought. Embarrassment rushed up and over the feelings of drunkenness.

"I don't know why I just said that." Syver whined, covering their face with their hands. They felt so foolish.

"Perhaps you said so because it's true." He whispered, reaching to pull the hands away from the sibling’s face.

Syver didn't let Emeritus pull their hands away, but split two fingers to peek at him. He didn't look upset or offended that they'd made such a confession. They didn't believe it; sure the words were enough to upset the former Papa.

"I'm sorry, Emeritus." Syver whispered, letting their hands fall down on their own. "I mean, I'm not sorry I said it but I'm sorry for blabbering like a drunken fool."

"Please, call me Dante." Emeritus said and took their hand in his. He was warm and his hand was so much larger than Syver’s but they loved it. The sibling didn't want to let him go. "And you are drunk, that's obvious to me but I do not believe for one moment that you're a fool." Emeritus said with such ease and kindness.

Syver laughed and the sound was quiet, and shook their head. "I-" They started but didn't say anything else.

"You what?" He asked.

"I wish I hadn't been so drunk when you came over here." They admitted. "I probably wouldn't have had the nerve to say anything to you but I'd feel less stupid about this."

"There is nothing to feel stupid about Syver." He whispered and looked at them with a reassuring smile. "Will it help you feel better if I admit that I'm drunk too?"

"Maybe." Syver whispered; they just didn't know.

"How about I walk you home? I'll ensure you arrive at the dormitories safely. We can meet in the morning and talk when we're both less intoxicated." He offered.

It sounded great in theory but the sibling wondered if they'd still have the courage to speak with him. They supposed the breaking of the ice was the hard part and they'd gotten that out of the way. Syver had taken much too long to reply, they thought, but Emeritus never once pushed them for an answer.

"Yeah." Syver whispered. "Yeah, okay. That sounds agreeable." They forced a smile.

The two remained at the table, unspeaking, but the quiet wasn't terribly awkward. They finished their drinks in the amicable silence.

"Are you ready to go?" Emeritus asked, presumably because he knew Syver was not likely to be the one to speak up. He sensed the sibling went back into their own head, as nervous people tended to do when they felt overwhelmed.

"I am." Syver said and stood up.

They were a bit wobbly on their legs thanks to the countless vodka sodas but stayed up without stumbling. They watched the Second rise from his own chair and let their gaze follow his face: they’d forgotten how tall the man was.

"After you." He said in a gentlemanly manner and motioned the other to walk ahead of him.

Syver’s steps were sure, though not quite steady. Emeritus kept a respectable distance from the sibling but fell in stride with them. They walked side by side out of the great hall and through the church corridors towards the exit that would lead out to the dormitories Syver called home.

Halfway up the stone laid path Syver had a thought and burst of courageous desire. They reached over and slipped their hand into Emeritus’s. They caught the smile on his lips as his fingers closed around theirs.

Emeritus followed Syver into the building, into the elevator and up to the second floor.

"I shall see you tomorrow, Syver." He whispered and released his hold on their hand.

Syver sighed, as they missed the contact but knew it was for the best.

"You'll see me later, Dante. It's much too late for it to be tomorrow." They whispered with a little giggle.

"You're correct." He said with another smile. "Sleep well."

"You too." Syver said, maybe a bit too enthusiastically. They leaned up and over, pressing a kiss to his cheek. They didn't know they’d done it until it was too late. Syver flushed pink again and just laughed.

"Um, good night." Syver said and refused to meet his eyes.

"Good night." Emeritus whispered and turned away.

Syver may have been drunk, but they were positive that time; Emeritus’s cheeks were pink.

Chapter Text

The sun was shining brightly through the bedroom window and it was the perfect example of what a wonderful day it was outside. Except that the same bright sun was making it a not so wonderful day inside that bedroom. Rolling over to turn their body away from the harsh rays of golden sunshine, Syver muttered a few choice words and covered their head with a pillow. The beautiful morning was a direct follow-up of a night with too much drinking. The poor sibling of sin was suffering a hangover of epic proportions.

As if the sun hadn't been enough to upset Syver, the loud banging from the other room was enough to do the job.

"Shut up!" They called out and regretted it immediately.

The use of their voice at that volume sent an unpleasant rattling through their head. The racket outside the bedroom, more than likely coming from the kitchen, continued. Syver pulled the pillow more tightly around their head and entertained the idea (though not seriously) of smothering themselves.

"I'm never drinking again." The sibling muttered, moving the pillow away from their face and flinging it unceremoniously onto the floor.

The act of doing so left them vulnerable to the direct sunlight once again and they decided then that it was in their best interest to just get up out of bed and face the day. Grumbling, Syver pushed themself up from the bed and started to strip away the outfit they'd fallen asleep in.

'How drunk was I?' They wondered.

It wasn't common for the sibling to fall into bed wearing clothes that weren't pajamas. It wasn't the first time they'd fallen asleep fully dressed but it had been a while. At least they had remembered to take off their shoes.

A loud knock to the bedroom door had Syver groaning in displeasure. Firstly, the banging aggravated their head and secondly, they didn't want to be bothered.

"What?" They said, whining.

"Rise and shine my friend." Midori sang through the door that separated her from Syver. "I made you my special hangover remedy."

"I am not drinking that again." Syver said. They knew exactly what Midori's special remedy was and it included several things on their do not consume under any circumstances list.

"But it helped you last time." Midori said, leaning on the bedroom door, knocking again.

"It did not!" Syver exclaimed. "I was sick all day." They had successfully undressed and slipped into a robe. A shower was in order. That would cure the painful headache.

"But you forgot the hangover." She replied with a laugh.

"Ugh. Shut up." Syver said and pulled open the door to look their friend in the eyes. "I just need a shower and I'll feel better."

"Oof you look awful." Midori said and stepped back to let Syver step into the main room. "How much did you drink?"

"A lot." The sibling replied. "Perhaps too much."

"What time did you get in?" The sister asked. "And I know it was after one. I was in bed at one."

Syver leaned against their door frame to think. They didn't know what time it was when they returned to the dormitory. "Late." They said, unable to be more precise than that.

"So I guess you had a good time then." Midori said conversationally. She was kind enough to lower her voice. The headache was visible in Syver's eyes. "And you didn't even want to go." She smiled at their friend.

"I had a good time, yes." Syver said. "Thank you for pushing me to go."

"You're welcome my friend." Midori said and took a step back. "Go shower and we can talk some more. I've heard a rumor and I want clarification."

"What rumor?" Syver asked. Their shower could wait a moment longer.

"Well, Sister Anne says that Brother Nickolas told her that Sister Denise saw you with Emeritus the Second." Midori said. She stepped further back from her friend and sat herself on the arm of the couch, looking up at Syver with a smile.

"That's a whole train of people." The sibling said, pushing their fingers back through their hair. "Are you sure that someone didn't twist words?"

Midori laughed quietly and shook her head. "You know as well as I do that rumors circulate fast and wide in this church but I have a good hunch nothing has been twisted Syver." She said. "And I know you well enough that you stuck around as long as you did because you wanted to see him."

Midori wasn't wrong and there really was no reason for Syver to deny the truth from their friend. They sighed and gave a little nod. "I had a drink with him. We talked and he walked me home." They said. There was no mention of the little kiss on the cheek because the sibling had completely forgotten they'd done that.

"So you talked to him?" Midori said, equal parts impressed and amused. She was very aware of the crush that her roommate had on the Emeritus brother.

"Yes." Syver whispered. "Well, maybe it was the vodka talking but yes." They smiled and felt their cheeks flush.

"I am very happy for you." Midori said. And she was, but had a bit of conflict in how happy she was for her friend. She was all too aware of the reputation surrounding the former Papa and she felt that he was all wrong for Syver. She didn't want to see them get hurt.

"It was a little talk." Syver whispered. "Nothing to be happy about." They left off the details about how there was a plan to meet up later in the day. They couldn't be entirely sure if the invitation was real or had simply been a vodka fueled misinterpretation.

"I'm still happy Syv." Midori said with a grin. "Sure you don't want some?" She asked, lifting the glass in her hand. Inside was her special concoction and it was dreadfully puke green in color.

"Thanks, but I'll make a hard pass." Syver said with a grimace. "Just some ibuprofen and a nice hot shower should do the trick."

"Suit yourself my friend." The sister said and made her exit to the kitchen.

Syver stood up straight and went walking towards the bathroom. They really needed that shower. They closed the door behind them and turned the shower on. As the water heated up, they took the time to pull things from their cabinet drawer. Toothpaste, a toothbrush, face wash and the like. It was at Syver's insistence that the countertop remained clear until it was being used.

They were a little bit of a neat freak, a side effect if their mild OCD and a left over habit from growing up in a house that was always cluttered and messy. They liked things to be neat, put away in their own places when not in use, especially in shared space.

The bathroom filled with steam and it let the sibling know that the water was sufficiently heated up. They put on a small radio, set beside the sink, and soon the quiet music of the area's only local station filled the room along with the steam.

Syver stripped off their robe and let it fall to the floor. They'd pick it up once their shower was done. Normally, the robe would be neatly folded and resting on top of the counter, next to their towel but the hangover clouded their mind. They pulled back the duel layer shower curtain and stepped into the stream of hot water.

It felt nice, the hot water against their skin. They stood first, facing the stream and letting it hit them right at the base of their throat. Once nicely damp, they turned their back on the falling water and let it soak their other side. Syver tilted their head back, giving the water a chance to run through their hair.

They reached blindly towards the three tier wire shelf and grabbed into the shampoo bottle. It was more economical to share, so Syver and Midori often took turns picking out what shampoo to use, usually what was on sale at the small town's grocery store. It had been the sister's pick this time and it was a very floral heavy scent. It didn't bother Syver all that much but they preferred fruit smells to flower smells. It really hadn't mattered to them. It served its purpose and got their hair clean and tangle free.

They reached next for the bottle of conditioner. It was again, something Midori picked out. It slightly irritated Syver that the scents didn't match but it wasn't irritating enough to skip the process. They scrubbed a good amount in there, letting it set a few minutes before they would rinse it all out.

Syver took the moment to grab a razor from the top most shelf. They hated the feel of personal body hair and often did what they could to keep up with removing it. That morning, they only needed to worry about their arms. The day before, they took care of everything else to ensure time was wasted before leaving to go to the reception. They made quick work of the task and rinsed the razor well before setting it blade side up on the shelf.

Next, they rinsed away the conditioner and reached for their shower puff and body wash. That was something that Syver bought for themself. It needed to be unscented and sensitive skin compatibility was essential. There had been too many instances of painful breakouts in their younger days. As pleasant as the scented soaps were while in the steaming shower, they just posed too much of an issue with their skin. It wasn't worth it.

A good scrub and some extra time to just enjoy the heat rounded out the shower for Syver. They reached over to shut the water, already feeling much better than they did when they first woke up. As they pulled back the curtain to step out, a memory stopped them in their tracks.

'I kissed him' Syver thought and was overwhelmed with embarrassment all over again. It was definitely not a big deal in the reality of the world but it was something the sibling would constantly think about, and not fondly. It left them feeling like they'd made the world's biggest mistake. The thing about Syver's brain, was that it liked to blow the smaller things out of proportion and often miss the bigger picture.

They stepped out of the shower and grabbed their towel. They dried off quickly and slipped back into the robe they scooped up from the floor. They didn't yet bother to wash their face or brush their teeth. Instead they hurried back to their bedroom to get dressed.

When Syver got to the bedroom, they closed the door and went to sit on the side of the bed. Their mind was a rush of thoughts. 'How could I make such a fool of myself?' was the loudest. They sat there, try to convince themself that it really wasn't all that terrible. It was a little kiss on the cheek and nothing more. They doubted quite seriously that Emeritus was overthinking the incident. It wasn't even an incident. It was what felt natural to do, even if it had been the vodka that allowed for the push to do it.

The sibling also thought about what they should wear. They didn't dress up often but they remembered how their outfit of choice the night before had gotten several comments and all had been positive. Ultimately, they decided to go with what was most comfortable, a pair of nice jeans and a shirt that was clean.

Syver didn't exactly know what they would be meeting to do. The invitation was to talk. Would coffee be involved? Breakfast? They hadn't even set up a time to meet. Perhaps the whole thing was just a mistake. Emeritus had been drinking as well. Groaning quietly, Syver flopped back into the pillows and didn't move for the next ten minutes.

A knock on the dormitory door sounded. Syver didn't move from their place on the bed. Their headache was starting to return and they realized it was because they had planned on taking ibuprofen but never got around to it. A second knock sounded. They wondered why Midori hadn't answered it.

"Midori, someone is at the door." Syver called out, at least sitting up again to project their voice.

There was no reply from the sister and Syver assumed that she must've gone out while they were in the shower.

Sighing, they got up off the bed and started walking to the front door. Still just dressed in a robe and loosely tied towel, Syver second guessed their choice to answer it. They hesitated a moment but called through the door.

"Who's there?" They asked, voice cracking with nervousness. There was nothing to be nervous about.

"Dante." The second Emeritus replied from his side of the door. He recognized the voice of Syver which was why he used his first name. "I realized that we never set a time to meet, so I apologize if this isn't a good time."

Syver flushed head to toe. They were not expecting him to show up at the dorms, like at all. They went into a little panic flash but settled quickly. Leaning closer to the door, they pulled it open just enough to peer out into the hallway.

"I am, well I am not dressed yet but the time isn't necessarily not good." The sibling said, stumbling over their words. "You, may come in but I need a few minutes if you don't mind."

They pulled the door open a little further, keeping themself tucked behind it and the wall. It blocked their body, poorly dressed, from view. It was completely a sound idea, until the man stepped into the dorm. Thankfully, the Emeritus brother didn't.

He was dressed in a casual suit and wearing a pair of sunglasses. His face was blank, almost too serious. If Syver had to guess, the poor man was dealing with a hangover much like their own.

"I can come back." Dante said, looking down at the sibling that was peering around the door. "Or maybe we should meet up somewhere they serve coffee or breakfast."

"I could use a cup of coffee." Syver said and smiled a bit. "But please, you may come in. You walked all the way here, let me offer you a seat. I won't be long." They stepped into view, not fully caring they looked as if they just rolled out of bed. At least the robe left them decently covered.

"Thank you." Dante replied and stepped into the dormitory.

"Couch is there. I'll be right back." Syver said and hurried back to the bedroom, moving swiftly, like a scared animal.

Emeritus moved into the room and over to the couch that was set in the center. He took a seat and waited for Syver to return. He was quiet, putting his head in his hands. He rubbed at his temples to ward off the lingering pain. He'd indulged in too much drinking the night before. He'd left those nights of partying far behind him. He remembered why, as the thumping in his brain continued.

It wasn't long at all before Syver returned to the living room. They were dressed in dark wash skinny jeans and a loose fitting three-quarter sleeve top in a nice shade of gray. Their shoes were well worn in sneakers and a simple grucifix hung around their neck. Their hair had been brushed through but left unstyled.

"I just need a minute more, Dante." They said nervously.

Emeritus was looking right at them, thinking, much as he had the night before, that the sibling was beautiful. His lingering gaze was hidden behind his sunglasses but the slight upward turn of his lips was pretty obvious.

"Sure." He said. "Take your time, Syver. There is no hurry."

Syver left the former Papa once more, slinking into the bathroom to finish getting ready for their planned outing. They hadn't been sure if they would head to the kitchen and dining room or if leaving the church property was in store. They'd be fine with either option.

A quick bush of their teeth was followed up with a swish of minty mouthwash. They gave their face a quick scrub and added a little gel to their hair to tame the flyaways. A small internal debate on makeup ended with the choice to go without. They felt they already made Emeritus wait for too long. If makeup became involved, Syver could spend entirely too long getting the eyeliner even.

Walking back to the living room again, Syver stood next to the couch. They sort of held themself awkwardly but inside they felt a little calmer than they had since Emeritus arrived.

"Ready when you are." They said and smiled brightly.

Emeritus stood up and turned to the other. He was smiling as well, though not so brightly. His smile was genuine but much more reserved. He didn't smile too often but he found that he couldn't help it when Syver was around. They'd only chatted briefly the night before, and had minor encounters in their pasts, but already he took a liking to this particular sibling and he was curious about why.

"I am ready as well." Emeritus said, clearing his throat. "Would you like to join me on a trip into town?" He asked. "I haven't really been out that way since I left."

"That would be agreeable." Syver said and was quick to add, "I don't drive." They didn't know why that was important but sometimes things just slipped out. The sibling often said nothing at all or offered up entirely too much personal information.

"I will call for a car." Emeritus said. "Or perhaps we can borrow a car. I do have my license, I just don't drive very often."

"With the risk of sounding like a horrible person, I'd like it if you'd call for a car Dante." Syver said. The sibling trusted the former Papa enough, but they were often nervous driving with anyone new, and knowing that Dante didn't drive often left them a bit uneasy. "I just think I'd be more comfortable with someone that drives for a living." Their cheeks flushed pink.

"You are not a horrible person Syver." Emeritus said. "I will call for a car. I do not mind." He didn't question the motive for wanting a hired car. It didn't concern him. He just wanted them to be comfortable.

Chapter Text

It wasn't too much of a wait for the car to arrive to pick up Emeritus and Syver from the church. The two had left the Sibling of Sin dormitories not long after Emeritus made the call. They walked towards the front of the church together and neither minded standing around the few minutes. It was a beautiful day and one that hadn't been too warm.

Syver was caught in their head, keeping quiet as they didn't know what to say. It wasn't that they couldn't talk to people without the aid of alcohol, but the push to get words out had been easier the night before. Too often Syver was told to just shut up, that their choices of topics were ones that no one cared to discuss. It was just easier for them to stay quiet until spoken to first.

Emeritus was a man of few words and he didn't say much at all. It wasn't that he had nothing to say, he could easily carry on a conversation but there was no need to force one. The quiet was amicable and just fine for the time. There would be plenty to discuss once they arrived in town and found a place to share coffee and maybe something to eat.

The car pulled up and it was much too flashy for a simple trip into the small town. A luxury limousine. Dante didn't often have the time to flaunt his wealth, not since he'd left the church to retire. He took the chances when they arose. He enjoyed to travel in style. He didn't make the choice to impress Syver, fairly certain the sibling wouldn't have cared either way. He did it for himself, and the chance to boost his own ego, flaunting to the random townspeople. He couldn't help it.

"This is for us?" Syver asked, looking at Emeritus. "A limo?"

"Yes." The former Papa replied. "Are you alright with that? I can call for a different car."

"No. No don't do that." Syver said, feeling a burst of anxiousness. "This is good. Just, well, it's unexpected."

"Well, learn to expect such things from me." Emeritus said. It might have been considered a cocky thing to say but he hadn't meant to come across that way.

"Okay." The sibling whispered and laughed awkwardly.

"Please, get in." Emeritus said and motioned to the door.

"Okay." Syver said again and opened the door to the limo before they climbed inside.

The outside of the car had been black and the inside was very much the same. Smooth black leather stretched across the seats, enough for eight, even as it was only the two. The floor was covered in a fancy carpet, a shade of black that matched the seats. It was very clean, too clean, it could pass as new and never used.

The sibling of sin moved into the seat that was way behind the driver. They didn't make the move to the seats that ran along the side of the car. They shifted all the way against the opposite door, leaving more than enough room for the former Papa to slide in beside them.

Emeritus climbed in after Syver had and settled right into the first seat. He looked over at them. "You don't have to sit so far away." He said. His tone was warm. He pulled off the sunglasses, as the limo was dark enough to not allow for the light to affect his headache.

"I know." Syver said but made no move from their place against the other door. They were well aware there was room but it was an ingrained habit to make themself as small and as out of the way as possible.

"I do not bite." Emeritus said, voice slightly amused. He tapped the empty spot right next to him.

Syver huffed a little laugh, though it was more like air passing through their nose. "Not what I've been told, Dante." They said with a little grin, but kept their head turned away shyly.

The comment drew a deep laugh from Emeritus. "That's fair." He said and extended his hand out towards the sibling. "But I ask before I do."

It was Syver's turn to laugh, really laugh. They looked at Emeritus's hand before lifting their gaze to his face. "You sure you don't mind me moving over?" They asked.

"No mind at all. You should be comfortable." Emeritus said and smiled when Syver seemed to relax and shift into the seat next to him. Once the sibling was more comfortably settled beside Emeritus, he looked over at them. "Better?" He asked, now that they weren't pressed against the door.

"Yes." Syver whispered. "I'm better." They looked up at the man and smiled. It was small but it was easy and unforced.

Much like the wait for the car to arrive, the pair fell into a comfortable silence as the car drove off towards the town.

Syver felt no nervousness as the drive was made. By rights, they thought that maybe they should. They tried to ignore all that could go wrong. The mountain roads were not particularly made for cars like the limo, but they had the seasonal weather on their side at least. The drive was smooth, easy to not think about being in a car at all. They chose to think about the man beside them instead. They thought it was nice he gave them the attention so few didn't bother with. They thought how warm and nice it was to have his leg pressed up theirs.

"Did you wish to get something to eat or just drinks?" Emeritus said, breaking the long period of silence.

"Whatever you'd like." Syver whispered, looking down at the pristine floor. They felt shy again for some reason. "If you'd like food, I'll eat but I'm not really opposed to just coffee if that's easier."

"I have not yet eaten anything, so I think we should go for a meal as well." Emeritus said. "I am starting to get hungry."

"We can eat." Syver said, finally looking at Emeritus. They didn't meet his eyes though.

The former Papa was well aware of the avoidance of eye contact but did not take it personally. They wondered what was going on in the sibling's mind but refrained from picking their brain just yet.


When the limo pulled into the small town, it dropped the two off in an area that was open and provided easy access to most of the little restaurants and shops. Emeritus informed the driver they'd be about two hours and to pick them up in the same location they'd been dropped off.

“Do you have a particularly favorite place to dine when coming out this way?” Emeritus asked, looking at the other with a hint of curiosity in his eyes.

“Not really.” Syver said. They were fond of the small cafe but it didn’t matter to them where the two ended up. They would be happy just to go somewhere. Coffee and company was all that they had been seeking that early afternoon. “You can pick a place. I’m fairly easy going.” They said and smiled at Emeritus.

“I myself am not entirely too picky but I’d much prefer some place we can sit down and relax.” He said. Truthfully, he was a bit picky but he wasn't completely inflexible when it came to picking a place. “I’d rather not have to wait in any lines or deal with a crowd.” He slipped his sunglasses back on, meaning to do so right as he exited the limo but had been distracted. The sun was bright.

“Sitting down with table service works for me Dante.” Syver said. “And I too would prefer to avoid any crowds if possible."

“I know just the place. Follow me.” Emeritus said and started to head down the sidewalk.

He was in no hurry and was mindful to keep a slower pace, as the sibling had shorter legs, thus a shorter stride. The two fell into a nice speed, keeping side by side as they made their way to the destination. Normally, Emeritus would choose the excellent Italian restaurant in town, a place called Giovanni's, but the food at the reception the night before had come from there so he didn't want to over do it.

As they neared the cafe, the one that Syver was a fan of, they knew that it was the location that Emeritus had chosen. The town was quite small and there were not too many options. It only made sense that the place they were headed was the small cafe. It was easy to see from the outside that it had not been too crowded and the fact it was an early Tuesday afternoon most likely played into it. A bit too early for the lunch crowd and just missing the breakfast crowd, it was very clear that it had been the correct choice.

Emeritus reached for the door and pulled it open, allowing for Syver to step through first. He followed them inside and the two found an open table near the front window. The sibling sat first, choosing the chair that faced the door. They prefered to see the room as a whole, than have their back to it. Their choice didn’t seem to bother the Emeritus brother, as he took the empty seat across from them.

The table was soon approached by a cheerful waitress, who handed them each a menu and left behind a complimentary bottle of sparkling water, empty glasses, and a promise to return. Syver set the menu down on the table in front of them and watched quietly as Emeritus looked his over.

"Are you not going to get anything?" The former Papa asked, looking over the edge of his menu at the sibling.

"I'm going to get a large coffee and the bacon cheddar melt." Syver said with a smile.

"You come here often then?" Emeritus asked with a smile of his own. "Or often enough to know what you like anyways."

"Yeah, it's really good." Syver said. "I don't come out too often but when I do and my outting includes a stop in this cafe, I get the same thing every time."

"Nothing wrong with sticking to what you like." Emeritus said and set the menu on the table. He'd given it enough of a glance to know what he wanted to order. "I'd enjoy the opportunity to trust your tastes but I myself am not a fan of bacon."

"That's really quite odd." Syver said but instantly regretted it. "I mean, I understand that it's not everyone's favorite, it's just most people I know are obsessed with bacon." Their cheeks flushed deep pink. "I'm sorry Dante, I meant no offense."

"None taken." Emeritus said. "I am aware my dislike of the popular meat makes me odd."

"It doesn't." Syver whispered, shaking their head. "And here I am making an ass of myself and there isn't an ounce of vodka in sight."

"You are not making as ass of yourself." He said, reaching for the bottle of sparkling water. "You're making conversation and there isn't anything wrong about that." He twisted the top off but made no further advances to pour it into any of the glasses.

"You don't seem like an asshole. You're an awful lot kinder than I expected you to be." Syver blurted out before they could stop themself. The sentence had been entirely intended to remain a private thought.

Emeritus laughed, quite used to that kind of ridiculous statement. He often responded to the likes of those words with a roll of his eyes and dismissal of whomever said it. However, with that instance, he had no interest in dismissing Syver. He felt that the words were of no ill will. He hadn't yet figured it out but he was drawn to the sibling and he wanted to know why. While not desiring to part ways, he wasn't going to let a comment like that just slide by.

"That's rather rude of you to say Syver." Emeritus said, looking at the sibling with purpose but it wasn't quite a glare.

"I'm sorry." Syver squeaked out and they were on the verge of tears.

"I forgive you." Emeritus whispered.

"I honestly have no idea why I said that. I don't believe for one minute that you're an asshole." Syver said, speaking rather loudly and much too quickly in order to keep up with their rushing mind. "People talk and I don't, oh Satan, I'm sorry. I really didn't mean this."

"I'm kind to those I find deserving of such kindness. I can forgive you, as I know you're nervous, but watch what you say." Emeritus said. "Think before you speak. I have little tolerance for carelessness." The entire time he was speaking, his voice was level. He hadn't been angry and he never raised the volume of his voice. "I feel like you deserve the kindness. I only ask that you be more mindful of your words."

"I am sorry, Emeritus." The sibling whispered, too upset with themself to use the man's first name. "I sometimes say things I don't mean to say. I will try not to do something like this again."

Emeritus noticed something in the sibling's eyes. It was something not quite, but a kin to fear. He wondered if maybe his words had been too much. He had no regrets, ever, when it came to speaking his mind. However, he wondered if maybe the tone he used or his choice in wording left the sibling bothered, or even pulled back to something they'd like to forget. He knew little of Syver's past and that little included nothing about their time before joining the church.

"I've already said I forgive you Syver." He said a little less firmly. He wouldn't take back what he said but would pay closer attention to the sibling. "Some water?" He asked, lifting the pretty blue bottle filled with sparkling water.

"Oh, sure." Syver whispered, trying to forget about what had happened. "And thank you. I'll try not to say something so stupid again."

Emeritus poured out the water into the two empty glasses. He kept his eyes on Syver who looked like they were still ready to cry.

"You're words were careless, not stupid." He said. "It has passed, so please do not harp on it. I do not believe for a minute you have intended to upset me. And there are moments in my past that are regrettable, so maybe my reputation has already put a particular idea in your mind. I haven't always been this kind to many people."

"I haven't meant to upset you, Emeritus." They whispered.

"Obviously not. And please, you may call me Dante. There's no reason for any formalities between us." Emeritus replied with a small grin. "I mean, why upset me if you fancy me?" There was a little hint of teasing in the way he said it.

"Yes, Dante. I'm sorry." They said. Syver flushed pink again. "I did say that last night, didn't I?" They whispered and reached to pick up their water. "That I fancy you."

"Yes, you did." Emeritus said and reached across the table to touch their hand not holding onto the glass. "And that's not something you need to feel embarrassed about."

"Well, um, I do feel embarrassed." The sibling whispered.

The waitress returned to take their orders, cutting the start of the conversation short. Syver ordered their coffee and bacon cheddar melt and Emeritus ordered a Mediterranean chicken wrap as well as a coffee.

"You made a good choice ordering that wrap." Syver said once the twosome were alone again.

"Did I?" Emeritus asked with deep interest. "I thought you only ordered the cheddar melt?" He was only teasing.

"I do only get the melt." Syver replied with a smile. "Midori, my roommate, gets that all the time. It's her favorite thing they make. Did you know it's seasonal?"

"I was not aware." He replied, thankful that it seemed the two could in fact carry on a conversation.

"Yup. There's something that they add to the dressing that has a short growing season up here in the mountains." Syver explained. "And this cafe prides itself on fresh and local ingredients."

"That I was aware of." Emeritus said. "A reason I'm fond of this place. I know I'm not being served garbage."

The sibling laughed at that, nodding their head and reaching for their water again. They took a sip and set the glass on the table. After a little time gazing out the window at the street outside, Syver turned their attention back to Emeritus.

"You must get plenty of people saying they fancy you, Dante." They said. "If I'm making an incorrect assumption, I'm sorry."

"Please stop apologizing." Emeritus said and reached for his own glass. "Your assumption isn't incorrect, however, the amount of people that show interest has dropped since my being replaced as head of the church."

"I'm sorry." Syver whispered and laughed as they caught themself apologizing again. "I apologize for everything out of habit." They said as a manner of explaining the frequency of their sorries.

"A habit that you should learn to break." Emeritus said. "You need not apologize for things when you've done nothing wrong."

"I will work on it then." Syver replied and they intended to. "May I ask you a question? I'm not sure if it's silly or not."

"You may ask me a question." Emeritus said. "I think maybe I'd like ask you a few myself, as I do intended to get to know you better."

"Oh certainly." Syver said. "I'll be glad to answer anything you want. I'm terrible with coming up with things to talk about but I'm good with answering things." They laughed quietly.

"Very well." Emeritus said. "What do you wish to know?"

"A lot of things, actually." Syver replied and tilted their head. "But the question I'd like to ask you is if you're seeing anyone at the moment?"

"Not seriously." Emeritus replied. "Why? Are you interested in turning this outing into a date?" He asked, with a small smile.

Syver blushed again. "Maybe." They answered with a smile of their own. "Gosh, it's been so long since I've dated anyone."

"Jumping immediately into dating me now?" Emeritus asked, only teasing.

"No. I'd never assume that we would. I'm just, I don't know, projecting my inner thoughts again." Syver said and was thankful when their coffees arrived.

They took their mug and put an extremely large amount of creamer and sugar into it. Syver did not enjoy the flavor of coffee on it's own and drank it specifically for the benefit of caffeine. They took a sip and sighed. It was sweetened to their liking. They watched as Emeritus took a sip of his own, drinking it black.

"I do not rush into dating anyone, Syver, but you hold my interest." Emeritus said, setting down the mug in his hand. "I find you quite attractive, in both looks and in attitude. You are sweet and charming and I'd like to keep seeing you."

"You would?" The sibling asked, flushed and happy to learn that.

"Yes." Emeritus said. "I am not seeking more than just companionship but I am intrigued by you and am very interested in learning about you."

"I'm not that interesting." Syver said with a shrug. "But I am interested in learning more about you as well Dante. You're a very private man so I would never pry but I definitely have an interest in you."

"Do not put yourself down Syver. I am sure you're quite interesting, many people are." Emeritus said. "Would you like to tell me where you are from?"

"I'm from a lot of places." The sibling replied. "I was born in Chicago, but moved to a small town outside Stockholm before I turned three. My mother was from Sweden and so was my father but he stayed in the US."

"Did your parents divorce?" Emeritus asked, interested in why they had moved across the ocean.

"No. It wasn't like that. My mother got ill and wanted to be closer to her family. My dad had a good job back in Chicago so he stayed. There were plenty of back and forth visits, so he was a big part of my life." Syver explained. "He's still living there, in a suburban neighborhood outside the city. He's retired now. I call him monthly, but I haven't seen him in years."

"And your mother?" Emeritus asked.

Syver's face fell but then they forced a smile. "She died a week before my thirtieth birthday." They replied. "A bad car accident, she'd been well before that. Cancer free for nearly fifteen years."

"I am sorry to hear that." Emeritus said and he did feel bad.

"I got over it quite quickly." The sibling said. "My mom was a nice person, most of the time, but we had our share of arguments. I wasn't on speaking terms with her when she died. She, uh, she said a lot of hurtful things the last time we had spoken."

"Again, I am sorry for that." Emeritus said. "I was not close to my mother. She wasn't kind." He left it at that, as it was a topic he wasn't willing to dive into so soon. He wasn't even sure if he ever would reach that level of comfort and trust with the sibling. "Any brothers or sisters?" He asked.

"A sister." Syver said. "She was born in Stockholm when I was three. We were really close growing up but I don't talk with her anymore. She, well she had a lot of problems. She wasn't really good to be around, but it took me far too long to realize that."

Emeritus nodded, having nothing to say. He was listening and had an interest but wouldn't dig for answers unless they were volunteered.

"So you've lived in Sweden your whole life then? Other than your baby years, that is." He said.

"No. I moved back to Chicago when I was seventeen. Stayed about a year before we moved to Wisconsin for three years. And then I went to New York for several years. After New York, I came here." Syver said. "I've been around." They laughed.

"Did you enjoy New York?" Emeritus asked. He was impressed with the city.

"I did, but I've got awful memories tied to my time there, so I've been avoiding ever going back." Syver said quietly. "I did meet Midori there, so there was some good that came out of it."

"You and Midori are close then?" He asked, leaning back in his chair as the conversation continued. "I have met her a few times. Nice woman but quite loud."

Syver laughed. "Yeah, she is loud and a bit much for some." They said. "We're close, she's my best friend but between you and me, she gets on my nerves more often than not."

"I know plenty of people that fit that description." Emeritus said, small grin on his lips.

Syver smiled. "She's great though. She helped me through a lot." They said. "We have our disagreements but she's got my back."

"Loyalty is important." Emeritus said and Syver nodded.

Their food came out shortly after their coffees arrived and they settled into a calm quiet as they ate.

"Any other questions?" Syver asked, setting down the second half of their sandwich. They thought about eating it but began to feel full. They thought about getting a to-go box.

"What do you do at the church?" Emeritus asked. He thought maybe he should have known, as he had been in charge at one point, but he didn't know and had no shame in asking.

"When I first arrived I was tasked with secretarial work but the last three years I've been working in the library." Syver replied. "I do help people in finding texts and reshelving from time to time but my specialty is restoration. I went to school for it."

"That's actually quite fascinating." Emeritus said, pushing his plate away once he decided he was done. He wouldn't get his leftovers to go. He never ended up eating them anyway.

"I do enjoy it." Syver said with a smile. "It's something that I like to see the end result of, you know? I take something that time has weathered and I make it new. And the fact I work alone and unbothered is a plus." They laughed.

Emeritus smiled. He liked the sound of the sibling's laugh. He also liked how their entire face lit up and their eyes seemed so carefree and without worry.

"Restoring the ancient texts must be very rewarding." He said. "And I can understand the appeal of working alone."

"I make my own hours too." Syver said, smiling. "I sometimes suffer serious bouts of insomnia, so I can work any time I wish. Day hours when I'm sleeping normally and sometimes I find myself working late when I can't function in the morning."

"How long have you dealt with insomnia?" Emeritus asked.

"Years." Syver replied. "Oh gosh, since high school, I think. Do you suffer as well?"

"Not in a very long time." The former Papa replied. "I did, ages ago, but I've found ways of dealing."

"I've learned a few tricks." Syver said with a grin. "Medication never helped me, well, maybe it did at the beginning but it hasn't in recent years. Oddly enough, masturbation does wonders." They blurted out, filter just calling it quits. "And I don't know why I just said that." They whined, burying their face in their hands.

"I am not bothered that you said it." Emeritus said, reaching over to touch the back of Syver's hand. "There's nothing to be ashamed of in saying such things."

The sibling lowered their hands and looked at Emeritus. They didn't mind that his hand stayed over the back of theirs even as they had set it down on the table.

"I'm not ashamed of doing it, Dante." They whispered. "I'm just... I'm just embarrassed by my lack of brain to mouth filter."

"I am aware of the benefits of masturbation to aid in sleep but it's no real cure." Emeritus said, keeping the conversation going in hopes to show the sibling that there was no need to feel embarrassed by it. "Though, if it works for you, the more power to you." He added with a small turn of his lips.

Syver felt another flush warm their cheeks but they didn't think it was from embarrassment. "It works so well." They whispered, licking their lips.

The two spent a minute, quietly looking at one another. The waitress returned, and it broke the silent eye contact. Emeritus pulled his hand off the back of Syver's.

"Are you taking these to go?" She asked cheerfully, pointing at their plates.

"I will. Thanks." Syver replied.

"No. I'm good." Emeritus said. "Another coffee would be appreciated. Thank you."

"And you?" She asked, looking at Syver.

"Um, sure. I'll have another." They replied. "Any chance we can get them into to-go cups?"

"Sure." The waitress answered.

"You want to leave so soon?" Emeritus asked.

"Well, you told the driver to be back in two hours." Syver said.

"Yes." Emeritus said. "And we've only been here an hour."

"I'd like to go for a walk." Syver said. "It's such a nice day."

"Alright. We can do that." Emeritus said. "A walk might be nice actually."


The pair had taken a stroll down to the small town's main street limits before turning to head back to the place the car would pick them up. Conversation was limited but they did engage in a few light topics. It was relaxed and just what both needed after a filling brunch.

Syver's leftovers were packed in a plastic bag they looped over their arm. Each of them had finished their second cup of coffee and dropped the empty cups into a bin on the sidewalk.

At some point, the sibling asked if it would be alright if they held the former Papa's hand, and Emeritus took Syver's smaller hand into his, lacing their fingers. He was aware of how it made Syver smile and Emeritus too felt an air of happiness being with them and simply holding hands.

It had been several years since Syver felt the kind of attraction they had towards Emeritus towards anyone. It made their heart beat faster and their belly flutter pleasantly. They were thrilled with the hand holding and even worked up the nerve to plant another kiss to his cheek. There wasn't the embarrassment that followed the drunken peck. They did take note of the flush of the man's cheeks though; just the same as they had flushed the night before.

Emeritus didn't remember how long it had been since he last felt the light and warm feelings that Syver left him with. In recent situations, his attraction to others had been strictly sexual in nature, so to have this sweet and fun feeling inside made him uncharacteristically happy. He felt a bit of the sexual attraction that he often did but had no desire to pursue it, until the sibling did first. He wouldn't seek out more intimate situations but he wouldn't turn them down if it came up.

The pair arrived at the location where they were to be picked up. The limo was waiting for them and Emeritus opened the door, letting Syver climb in first. The two had been laughing together for the last ten minutes, over a well timed joke that probably didn't deserve the level of amusement it received.

Emeritus climbed into the limo after Syver did and pulled the door closed. He tapped the partition to alert the driver that they were ready to leave. He took the bag of leftovers from the sibling and set them down, out of the way. He looked at Syver but said nothing. His hangover was gone and he had coffee, food and a good time to thank.

"May I lay on your shoulder?" Syver asked, feeling rather bold since their walk. They had a strong urge to be close.

"You may." Emeritus replied, patting the seat next to him.

Laughing quietly, Syver shifted closer to the man, tucking themself under his arm. They rested their head on his chest, missing his shoulder completely, and sat quietly, easing the giggles that continued to bubble up from inside. Emeritus wrapped his arm around the sibling, keeping them close but held his arm loose enough they could move away if the need came about. The pair had been laughing for so long, what was originally funny had already been forgotten in the sibling's mind. They sighed.

"Can I tell you a secret, Dante." Syver whispered, keeping their eyes cast down to the floor of the car. They had a smile on their lips but it wasn't noticed by the former Papa.

"What if I said no?" Emeritus whispered back, very much amused by everything that had been going on. He laughed quietly. "You may tell me whatever it is that's on your mind." He said, gently squeezing the body beside him.

"I think I want to kiss you again." Syver whispered, turning their head up. It set their gaze at Emeritus's chin. They wondered if he'd turn his head down to look at them. "I think I don't want it to be on the cheek."

"You think that?" Emeritus asked quietly, turning to look down at the sibling resting against his chest. The angle allowed for him to press his forehead against theirs.

Sitting so close, bumped their noses. Syver took a chance to nuzzle the man's cheek. Keeping their close proximity, Syver felt their heart start to race. It was a little bit nerves and a little bit of excitement.

"I do think that." The sibling whispered. They did more than think it; they knew it. They wanted to kiss him so much but that last string of anxiety left the action undone.

"You may kiss me." Emeritus whispered, leaning his lips so close but not quite getting the connection they both desired.

"I know." Syver said and sounded ridiculously shy despite it nearly happening. A nervous laugh slipped past their lips.

"Will you?" The former Papa asked, bringing a hand to gently rest on the sibling's cheek. He traced his thumb delicately along the sharp cheekbone.

"No." Was the quiet reply. Syver was shaking but whether it was just nerves or a sudden need, they hadn't figured that out.

"Are you nervous?" Emeritus asked, curling his fingers around Syver's jawbone. "I think you're nervous."

"I am." They said, gazing into Emeritus's eyes and once more turned their face just enough to nuzzle his cheek.

"Do you want me to kiss you instead?" Emeritus asked. He wasn't the type to push, especially when his partner was nervous but something told him that this was something that Syver had wanted desperately. He had a very keen sense that if anything were to happen, he'd need to initiate.

The sibling's eyes closed and they made a quiet sound of affirmation. The pair was so close, so very close, it was a small wonder that they'd held off that long. "Will you?" They asked, voice cracking.

The tension was so thick in the space once Syver posed the question. They let out the breath they were holding, and could feel that Emeritus too released his, warm air puffing against the sibling's lips. Still, nothing happened.

"So, are you going to kiss me or not?" Syver whispered, feeling a burst of confidence coursing through them. Confidence without being drunk, they mused. They turned their head so there was no choice but to look back into the former Papa's eyes. The mismatched color, backed with a fierce intensity, sent a tingling reaction down through Syver's limbs and they shuddered involuntarily. Emeritus's gaze was truly piercing and Syver was grateful for the fact that they'd been sitting.

"Dante." The name was whispered with a sense of urgency.

Emeritus responded by pulling Syver into a kiss, hard and deep. They kissed him back, nothing hesitant or shy about it. They wanted this, just too nervous to have been the one to make that first move. The sibling moaned into his mouth, sucking his tongue past their own lips. They wrapped their arms around his neck, groaning out as Emeritus took hold of their hair, pulling the wavy strands tightly in his fist. He didn't tug on the hair, just held on to it.

Syver anticipated continued nervousness, feelings of being ashamed,embarrassment and all negative things but their mind stayed level. There was no apprehension, no push to stop. This was worlds better than the drunken peck on the cheek and the second peck not twenty minutes earlier. They wanted more. Finally getting a taste of what they'd desired, dreamed of for years, it was like a cord inside them snapped. They wanted more and suddenly the kissing wasn't enough.

"Please." The sibling whispered but they weren't sure what for.

Emeritus pushed Syver back, pressing them into the empty seat beside them. He wanted more too, but was careful to be aware of any kind of sign that the sibling had a change of mind. He was all too aware of wanting to stay within their comfort zone. He looked down into Syver's eyes, seeing want but looking for hidden hesitation. When there was no hint of the sort, he positioned himself over their body, kissing down their neck and running his hand down their side until he could get a firm grip on their thigh. He dug his fingers in, pressing hard into the denim clad muscle.

"Oh fuck." Syver whispered, feeling things that they hadn't in several years. It had been a long time since the tingling sensation of arousal had been brought on by anyone but themself. It had been a long time since Syver had allowed themself the company of another. They fell easily into accepting the sensations.

It was only meant to be a kiss but something had driven them both towards more. When Emeritus's mouth moved back to the other's, Syver hooked their leg over the man's hip. It pulled him down resting his full weight against the smaller body. They kissed hard, and it was sloppy. Both had the know how, the ability to kiss well, but lust took over, making them lose just a little control. The sibling moaned loudly and the former Papa growled into their lips. After just a minute, Syver started to rock their hips up and Emeritus slipped his leg between theirs.

Syver had zero care that there was only a partition between the two of them and the driver. They cared for nothing but the delicious feelings left behind by Emeritus's kisses and touch. It felt much too good to stop and they didn't intend on it until they reached the church.

"When we get back, I don't wish to return to the dormitories. I want… I… uh, will you take me upstairs?" Syver murmured against his lips. "Up to your private rooms, wherever it is you're staying?"

"Is that what you want, Syver?" Emeritus whispered, pulling back far enough to look down into their eyes. The gaze was steady, even as the car moved through the twisting mountain road that would lead them back.

"Yes Dante." The sibling whispered. "Please."

Emeritus nodded and pet over Syver's cheek. His fingertips were incredibly gentle over their soft skin. It was an innocent enough touch yet to Syver it felt anything but. The position they were in was far from innocent as well. Neither had any specific expectations of what would follow but were more than eager to find out.

Chapter Text

"You're staying in Copia's old chambers?" Syver asked, once they and Dante approached the door to the room. It was located at the center of the largest section of living quarters within the main church building.

They had arrived back from their trip into town only minutes earlier, both rather flustered and worked up from their intense, heated kissing and touching on the ride back. Each was able to remain composed and walk calmly from the limo and up the two flights of stairs however. Inside, Syver was nervous again but hid it well. The pair walked with a respectable distance between them and hadn't spoken until Syver commented on the location.

"I truly couldn't stay upstairs with my brother in his chambers." Emeritus replied and went digging in his pocket for the key. "Definitely wouldn't do that." There was a hint of amusement in how he said it.

"Not enough space?" Syver asked. "Or too noisy?" They grinned.

"Noisy and maybe too visual." Emeritus said and grinned back. "My brother has no problem making himself the center of attention, even as others might care to not see him."

He turned the key, pushing open the door to let them both inside. He stepped in first and turned on the lights. Syver, who hadn't been paying the best of attentions walked right into him, colliding with his back.

"Sorry." The sibling whispered and giggled. They took a step back.

Emeritus said nothing, turning around to close the door and lock it. He was about to say something when Syver spoke first.

"Why is there a giant cage in here?" They asked, looking at their surroundings.

Situated along the far wall was a large cage that stretched floor to ceiling, and side wall to large expanse of windows.

"The Cardinal kept rats." Emeritus explained. "Like you mentioned, these were his old chambers."

"Sweet Satan he either spoiled them rotten or he had too many." Syver said and laughed.

"I believe that the answer is both." Emeritus replied.

The sibling couldn't help but wander around a bit. Ever curious to their environment, they wished to take it all in. Any desire to continue what was started back in the limo was brushed aside to take a peek.

The room was plain and simple. One large, but not too large space provided both bedroom and living room. There was a separate bathroom, at least that is what the sibling gathered from the half open door to the right of the bed. The bed itself was much bigger than the ones back in the sibling's dormitory but it wasn't extravagant by any means. It was neatly made up, with deep red covers and what looked like black pillowcases. They guessed the sheets matched but with the comforter pulled up they had no way of knowing.

Not far from the bed was a table set up, a small round table with two mismatched chairs. One was an antique winged back chair, made from old and cracking leather. It was black and looked incredibly comfortable. The other was a simple dinner chair, made of stained cherry wood and well worn black velvet accents. Upon the table was an assortment of empty glasses and bottles that were once filled with some sort of alcohol.

Beyond the table, next to the large cage was a small kitchenette. The cabinets beneath had glass covered doors and they noticed the shelves were bare. There were large windows behind the counter space, made with old glass, the kind that looked warped from impurities. Syver happened to notice that one panel of glass in particular was not warped and obviously newer. It was probably replaced at some point.

The floor was dark hardwood and creaked in certain places. The ceiling was high and vaulted. Above the bed, a stained glass window was hidden away, unseen unless one took the time to look. Next to the bathroom door was a small fireplace. It was cleaned out, looked unused and it made sense as the summer months were rapidly approaching. Its mantle was empty, but remaining dust upon it let the sibling know it had been previously decorated, probably with candles, as the cleaner bits were rounded in shape.

The wall across from the bed was lined with massive bookshelves, all still full. There wasn't a speck of dust on them which gave the impression that the collection was still visited and frequently.

After a long few moments of letting Syver take it all in, Emeritus walked up behind them and put his hand on their hip.

The touch had startled the sibling but only just a bit. They turned to face the man behind them and looked up into his eyes. Emeritus had pulled off his sunglasses and his duel colored eyes sent a shiver up Syver's spine.

"Why have you asked to come up here?" Emeritus asked. He stepped back and took a seat on the foot of the bed.

"I didn't think you'd need to ask me that Dante." Syver replied, walking closer to where the former Papa was seated.

They reached out, hands trembling just enough to notice. They looked into Emeritus's eyes again, holding his gaze. There was a wordless question, if it was okay to touch him. When the man said nothing and made no indication that he didn't want Syver's touch, the sibling cupped their hand over his cheek. Emeritus was very warm to the touch and it made Syver feel warm inside.

"I have gathered your intentions, Syver, but I wish to ask just how far your interest goes?" Emeritus said, leaning into the sibling's smaller hand. He put his own hand against the other's hip.

"I haven't decided." They whispered. "But I'd very much like it if I could kiss you again until I figure it out."

"I'd like to kiss you as well." Emeritus said, turning his face and letting his lips drag over Syver's palm. "I'm interested in more but I will not pressure you into anything you're not ready for."

"I do not know what I am ready for." Syver whispered honestly, getting that information out there, and dropped their hand from his face.

They leaned in, pressing their lips to Emeritus. Their arms looped around his neck, holding him close as the kiss started to deepen. It didn't deepen too much. The kiss was short, and much less intense than the few they shared in the back of the limo. It wasn't hesitant but it didn't reflect the passions of the pair's earlier ones.

Syver stepped back dropping their arms to their side. They stayed close enough to keep the man's hand on their hip; they liked the comfort of it being there. They stayed close enough that they could press their forehead against his if they saw fit.

"It's been some time, a long time, since I've felt comfortable enough to even kiss anyone." Syver whispered. "I don't lack experience, Dante, but I am out of practice."

"Do you wish to get back into practice?" Emeritus asked, bringing his hand up to the sibling's cheek.

Syver smiled softly and leaned into the touch. "I think so." They replied, gently kissing Emeritus on the nose.

"I am perfectly content with keeping things between us slow." Emeritus said, putting his hands at the sides of the sibling's neck. "If you only wish to kiss me, I am happy to oblige you Syver. I mean it when I tell you, there will be no pressure, no push from me. I wish you to be comfortable."

The sibling leaned in and kissed the man. They didn't know what else they could add to the conversation. It wasn't easy for them to speak their mind. It was difficult for them to ask for what they wanted. Syver decided to let their body make the decision for them, kissing Emeritus deeply. They wanted more kisses, for that they were certain. The rest would follow, for that they hoped.

Keeping one hand at Syver's cheek, Emeritus put his other at the small of the sibling's back. It was a light encouragement to move closer but he offered no push. He meant his words that he'd let Syver make the decision on where to take things.

The kisses grew deeper and their position made it slightly difficult. Confidently, Syver climbed up into the bed, straddling over Emeritus's lap. They turned their head, pulling back just enough to lightly nibble his bottom lip. Emeritus made a quiet sound, indicating he liked it. It encouraged Syver to bite down on the lip and Emeritus groaned. He dragged his hand down from Syver's cheek, taking their hips in each hand, squeezing them.

Syver whimpered and returned to kissing him properly. Their mouths fit together in a way that Syver found pleasing. They felt it was a right fit. They slid their tongue into Emeritus's mouth and moved it along his. They wrapped their arms around him, hugging him tightly, and settled their hands at the back of his head, tracing a line with their thumb at the base of his skull.

Emeritus moaned into the sibling's mouth, tightening his hold on their hips. It made Syver moan as well and sent a shudder through their body. The intensity built, reaching the same need and desire that was present during their moment in the car.

Syver gasped out quietly, as Emeritus slipped his hand up the bottom of their shirt. The heat of his touch against bare skin surprised the sibling but in a very pleasant way. Taking the opportunity to catch their breath, Syver nuzzled Emeritus's cheek. They pressed a soft kiss to his jaw before the man turned his head to reclaim their lips.

Emeritus felt that things were going well and took the chance to roll his hips up off the bed, grinding himself against Syver. The chance paid off as the sibling responded with a hip roll of their own and it wasn't long before Emeritus felt his back hit the mattress as Syver pushed him down. The action broke the kiss but it was only for a short time. The sibling climbed further up the bed and settled themself over the man beneath them. With a hand pressed to either side of Emeritus's head, Syver dipped closer and resumed the heated kiss.

The new position set the pair with hips too far apart for Emeritus's liking. He pulled down on Syver until contact was made and he could continue to roll his hips up into them. The steady pace he set had the sibling moaning and sighing loudly in his ear. He started to kiss down the side of their neck, licking and sucking the skin, mindful to not leave behind any marks. Emeritus thoroughly enjoyed marking his partners but wouldn't do so without explicit permission to do it.

"Can I roll you onto your back?" Emeritus whispered into the curve of Syver's jaw.

"Yes." They replied, very okay with that idea.

It was a swift and easy swap of position as Emeritus flipped the sibling onto their back and settled down on top of them. He continued to leave kisses and gentle bites along Syver's neck and draw such beautiful cries from them. His hands began to roam over the small body of the sibling, combining gentle pets with firmer presses and the occasional squeeze. All touch remain over their clothes, but if they asked for it, Emeritus would not have argued removal of any layers.

Syver wrapped their leg around Emeritus, calf resting against his ass. Their arms looped around his neck, licking the skin as he was doing to them. Soon, their lips met again and they kissed hard and passionately.

Just as the desire to kiss and touch someone had been returning to the sibling, the strong sense of arousal came rushing back to Syver. The warm rush of need coursed through their veins, the tingles danced up their spine and settled down in the pit of their belly. The rush of blood moving downward sort of sent Syver into a panic. They felt the familiar twitch in their pants. They slipped their leg off Emeritus and lay there, unmoving.

"Dante, stop. Please." Syver said suddenly, pushing back on the man's shoulders.

The heated kisses had stopped. Syver was suddenly very overwhelmed and wanted to avoid panicking.

"Are you okay?" Emeritus asked, looking down into the sibling's eyes. He saw worry in them and again, something that resembled fear.

"I don't know." Syver whispered. "No." They said and let out a very nervous laugh.

"Tell me what's going on inside your mind." Emeritus whispered but even his soft voice had an edge of commanding power. He couldn't help that; it was just how he spoke a lot of the time.

Nervous as they were, Syver felt compelled to reply. They climbed out from under Emeritus and off the bed. They stood awkwardly beside it.

"I worry that I am not your type, Dante." They whispered and their voice cracked as they avoided crying. "I am scared that if we take this further, you'll reject me."

Their words confused Emeritus. There had been no indication that he wasn't enjoying the afternoon's activities.

"You are kind. You are honest and intelligent." Emeritus began. "Why you would assume you're not my type, I do not understand. Have I given you any indication that you're not?" He didn't think so. He was keenly interested in taking things further with the sibling, both physically and emotionally, and had no plans to push them away or give rejection.

Syver shuffled from foot to foot, a nervous habit. They wouldn't look at Emeritus, instead keeping their eyes trained on the hardwood floor. They chewed the inside corner if their lip, another nervous habit they had.

"Because I worry about things like this Dante. Because my head is so fucked up I can't deal with the thought of rejection. Not again." Syver couldn't stop the crying that time. They closed their eyes and started sobbing through the tears.

"You think I am going to reject you?" Emeritus asked. His tone was calm and it was kind. He didn't know why Syver would think that.

"Your time as Papa, you would surround yourself with all these beautiful women. Countless beautiful women. I'd never see you alone." The sibling whispered. "What am I supposed to think?"

"Do you believe I don't find you beautiful?" Emeritus asked, and took a chance in reaching for Syver's hand. He was grateful that they didn't pull away. He thought the person standing before him was incredibly beautiful; their fear was purely anxiety fueled.

"Maybe." Syver whispered and shrugged. They didn't let go of Emeritus's hand and finally got the courage to look into his eyes. "I'm more concerned that you'd reject me because I'm not a woman." Once again, they looked away.

"I won't do that." Emeritus said. He sighed and gave the sibling's hand a squeeze. "I've willingly spent my time with you, Syver. I wouldn't waste my time if I planned on rejection. I wouldn't waste my time if I didn't want this."

His words seemed to ease the sibling's anxiety for the moment. They sighed and looked back at Emeritus. "You really think I'm beautiful?" They whispered.

Syver felt embarrassed for freaking out like they did. They were certain that they just ruined any chance to continue.

"I think you're incredibly beautiful." Emeritus said and let go of Syver's hand.

He patted the mattress at his side, indicating he wished the sibling to sit back down. He wondered if they would.

"If you're not okay to continue this, that's fine." He said. "But it's not fine that you think I'm not interested in you. I believe that you are too caught up inside your own mind Syver. Forgive me if I'm wrong but I have this sense that you think you're not worthy of feeling wanted and I cannot understand why, because you're wrong about that."

Syver looked down at the floor and held back their tears. They didn't want to cry in front of Emeritus, not anymore than they already had. Without looking up, they walked back over to the bed and sat down. Still keeping their eyes on the floor, Syver leaned themself against Emeritus and didn't stop him from wrapping his arm around their shoulders.

"You're not wrong Dante." They whispered, reaching up to wipe away the stragglers of tears from their cheeks. "I don't know what I think. I want to believe that you're truly attracted to me but I've been through too much to believe anybody could be."

Emeritus had hit the nail right on the head. Syver had a lot of issues believing they were worthy of anyone. Years of put downs from family and friends had taken its toll on the sibling. Try as they might, they couldn't shake that. Years before, they were so convinced that they worked through everything but after a horrendous period of time and nasty break up, all those negative aspects came back. They believed, just briefly that maybe things would be different with Dante, but it was made clear that they still felt the nervousness and fear.

"I'm sorry." Syver whispered.

Emeritus put his hand on Syver's chin, turning their face up towards his own. The look in his eyes was soft, understanding.

"I can't do much else but tell you that I believe you're very worthy of being loved, cared for and touched, exactly as you are Syver." He said, speaking just as softly as his eyes looked upon their face. "And I only ask that you believe it yourself."

Syver let out a little sobbing sound but nodded their head. "Okay." They whispered. "I'll try."

Emeritus smiled at them and leaned over to press a kiss to their forehead. It made Syver smile.

"Can I just lay down with you?" They asked, little hopeful tone in their voice.

"If that's what you want." Emeritus said.

"It is." Syver whispered.

Emeritus was more than happy to give the sibling what they wanted. Syver was more than impressed that they were able to even articulate their wants.

The two climbed further into the bed, settling down at the center. They stayed over the covers. Emeritus lay down right behind Syver, wrapping them in his arms, as they leaned back against his chest.

"Comfortable?" Emeritus whispered, petting back through Syver's hair.

"Yes Dante." They replied. "Are you?"

"I am." He replied.

The two fell into a nice calm and quiet. It wasn't long before they unintentionally drifted off for an afternoon nap.

Chapter Text

Syver opened their eyes and found themself lying alone in a strange bed. It didn't take them long to put the pieces together and remember that they'd fallen asleep while laying down with Emeritus. The thing was, the man was no longer in the bed behind them. They sat up, yawning quite loudly. The nap they had taken was not planned so they must have been tired. It wasn't unheard of that Syver nap randomly. They took the sleep when they could get it.

"Are you feeling better?" The question came from across the room. Emeritus was sitting at the table in the more comfortable of the two chairs.

Syver looked over at him and smiled. They nodded their head. "Yeah, better." They said. "I'm sorry I fell asleep."

"There is no need to apologize." Emeritus said and lifted a glass to his lips to drink some of the contents inside. "If you needed the rest, I'm glad you got it."

"How long was I asleep for?" Syver asked, shifting closer to the end of the bed but not getting out of it.

"Not quite two hours." Emeritus replied, setting his glass down and leaning back in his chair. He stretched his legs out under the table, as he'd been sitting for quite some time.

"And you?" Syver asked, swinging their legs over the edge of the mattress, resting their weight back on their arms.

"I laid with you until you drifted off. Then twenty minutes more. I dozed off but did not sleep long." The man said, rising from the chair. "I don't make a habit of sleeping in the middle of the day."

"I'm sorry that I did this." The sibling said again. "I probably should have gone back to my dormitory if I was this tired."

Emeritus took a few steps towards the bed to close the distance between them. "I've said you need not apologize Syver. You really have to break the habit of apologizing when you've done nothing wrong. I cannot fault you for needing to rest."

"I'll work on that." Syver replied, looking up to Emeritus's face. They looked into his eyes. "It's not an easy habit to break."

"Not many habits are." The man said and pointed to the empty space next to the sibling. "May I sit?" He asked.

"Yes." Syver answered. "It's your bed. Well, temporarily your bed anyway."

The former Papa sat down, turning his body to face the smaller one beside him. "I am not upset that you fell asleep here Syver. I'm actually quite glad you did." He said.

His words surprised the sibling. "How did this make you glad?" They asked, curious of what his answer would be. "Because it shut me up for two hours?" They made a quiet huffing laugh.

"Not at all. You say so little, Syver and what you say is worth hearing. I am glad because it showed me that you're comfortable enough around me." Emeritus replied. "Either that or your sleeping habits truly are atrocious and you couldn't help but succumb to it." His lips turned into the slightest tease of a grin.

Syver laughed quietly at his words. It wasn't an entirely nervous laugh but there were hints of it. "Perhaps a little of both things." They said, licking over their bottom lip. "I think that I am comfortable around you." They added. "But also, I haven't been sleeping all that well lately."

"I am happy you think that." Emeritus said, truly glad the sibling was comfortable with him. After the incident before the nap, he worried that maybe Syver would have changed their mind about the whole situation.

Emeritus didn't expect to be as attached to the sibling as he was. Yes, he found them highly attractive and desirable. He found their company to be good. He didn't expect to feel the sadness he felt when there was the possibility that they'd walk away, fueled by their own fears. People walked in and out of Emeritus's life quite often but there was something about Syver that he didn't wish to let go so soon.

"So, um, how long do you plan on sticking around?" Syver asked. "I know you're here for the reception and that's over, so."

"Trying to get rid of me?" Emeritus asked but was only teasing.

"No!" The sibling said rather quickly. "Not at all, no. It's just a question. I'm curious." They said.

Emeritus laughed quietly and put his hand on Syver's shoulder. "Relax. I'm only making a joke. I do not think you're trying to rush me out." He said. "I wouldn't let you rush me out to be fair. I do things my own way, and that includes deciding when I wish to get away from this place."

Syver just nodded. They did know he was only joking but still the worry and need to apologize rushed in. They managed to keep from saying sorry but the apologetic undertone was rather obvious when they chose to speak. "I'm curious because I'm wondering if there was any chance that we could maybe, I don't know, continue what we started earlier?" They whispered. "But if you're looking to head out or just, I don't know, lost interest, I can live with that."

Emeritus smiled, just a little. There was a sadness felt in hearing the second half of what Syver said. "I'm alright to continue, and I promise there is no loss of interest." He said. "I need to know though, are you sure that you are ready to continue?" He added, asking just to make certain.

"I am." Syver whispered, leaning closer to Emeritus. They could smell whatever it was he was drinking on his breath. It wasn't overpowering but it was there. Just enough to conclude it was more than likely bourbon that had been in that glass.

Already past the point of achieving their first kiss, there was no hesitation, no second or third guessing themself. Syver closed the space and kissed him softly. Syver enjoyed the act of kissing, always had. They really enjoyed kissing the man seated in front of them. The softness didn't last, Emeritus making his decision to pull the sibling closer and deeply kissing them. Immediately, his tongue traced along their lower lip, seeking to slip inside their mouth. Just as immediately, Syver parted their lips to allow his tongue inside. They moaned quietly, resting their hands on Emeritus's chest, pressing against it through the quality material of his shirt as their tongues twisted and slid along the other's.

It didn't take too long before Emeritus sat back, running the fingers of one hand back through Syver's sleep tousled hair. He looked into their eyes, resting his tongue against the back of his teeth as a question hung on the tip. The question went unasked, as Syver leaned in to kiss Emeritus again. They didn't part from his lips as they turned slightly, crawling back into his lap, much like they'd done prior to the nap. The kissing evolved into a collection of gentle bites and Emeritus sucked the other's bottom lip between his teeth, pressing down enough to feel the pressure without inflicting pain. It made Syver whimper and roll their hips down into his.

The pair took a moment to breath. Syver rested their forehead against Emeritus, breathing heavily. The sibling felt no anxiety in that moment, bravely keeping eye contact. They were once more mesmerized by the former Papa's duel colored irises. They'd been intrigued by the look for years and they found the look desirable up close. Their breath was still coming quickly from the shared kiss moments before but it was calmer, steady and even. Syver felt the warm tingling sensation throughout their body but it gave no push to stop what they were doing. There was no need to turn down any future advances. They wanted this, and more. The earlier concerns all but washed away.

"Will you let me touch you, Syver?" Emeritus asked. His voice was husky with arousal. His hands were resting on the sibling's hips but he wished for a different approach to touching. "Allow me the chance to learn how you feel under my fingertips. I'd enjoy the opportunity to explore, to remember your body."

"Yes." Syver said, voice shaking. Their nervousness reared its head but not without being easily pushed back down. "Please, touch me."

Taking his hands off the sibling's hips, Emeritus shifted back on the mattress, and settled himself down at the middle of the bed. A pillow at his back kept him slightly upright. Taking just a moment, he opened the top few buttons on his dress shirt, just enough to let air pass through as he was beginning to feel warm. He thought about removing his belt, strictly for comfort reasons, but didn't want the action to give the sibling any false implications. His intent remained to go at their pace, having no need to rush things. He reached out, inviting Syver closer with just a look.

Swallowing down another bout of nervousness, Syver turned. They crawled towards Emeritus and settled down on the mattress at his side.

"Where would you like me to go?" They asked, reaching to brush their hair back out of their eyes. It was always the same group of strands that refused to stay put.

"Are you comfortable with straddling my lap again?" Emeritus asked, very much wishing that they were.

Syver nodded and did just that. They swung one leg up and over Emeritus's legs, holding onto his shoulder for balance as they settled above him. When they felt the man's hands at their hips, they let go of his shoulder and sat down against his thighs. They smiled at him, a little shyly and licked their lips.

The two started to kiss again, nothing tentative and very need driven. The kissing they shared was something each party enjoyed immensely. Syver set one hand at the side of Emeritus's neck, moving their fingers over the warm skin and dipping below his shirt collar, made wider by the undone buttons. Their other hand hung awkwardly beside them, grasping and twisting their own shirt sleeve. It was another nervous habit but the sibling felt no nerves to back it up.

They moaned quietly, pulling their lips away from his just briefly to sigh when Emeritus moved his hands up and under their shirt. The touch was different than before. The earlier touch was a simple hand pressed to the small of their back. That time, Emeritus tickled up both sides of their body, smoothing his fingertips up, then down, from hip to ribs. On each upward pass, he went just a little higher. Syver started to shiver, it felt so nice. They knew in that moment how starved for another's touch they must have been, as a simple move had them that worked up.

Their kissing never resumed. Instead, Emeritus worked his lips down the side of their neck. He kissed from the corner of their jaw down to the neckline of their shirt. The small chain around Syver's neck tickled his lips. The delicate kisses had the sibling gently rolling their hips. Emeritus dropped his hands back down to hold their hips, pulling them closer. Syver was properly in his lap and it allowed him to return the gentle rolls, rocking against their pelvis. Syver groaned out. Emeritus licked and mouthed his way back up the sibling's neck, not stopping until he reached their ear.

"Do you enjoy biting?" The former Papa whispered. He took a moment to lick over the curve of their ear, gently sucking the lobe between his lips.

"Yeah." Syver sighed, enjoying the attention to their ear. "You may bite me. I, oh fuck, I like it."

Emeritus bit down hard on the lobe in his mouth. He tugged on it before he released the bite and soothed the sting with flicks of his tongue and soft kisses. His efforts were rewarded when Syver moaned deeply. He kissed back down, dragging his lips over the sibling's throat. He nibbled against the skin but didn't bite down. Not yet.

"Can I mark you?" Emeritus asked, quite clearly despite the husky tone he provided.

"Please." Syver whimpered, feeling the tingling sensation move down to the depths of their belly. "Ah, fuck!" They called out when Emeritus bit down, right at the start of their collarbone. It was a cry of surprise and just a hint from the delicious pain.

Syver's hand fisted in Emeritus's shirt, holding it tightly as the man sucked a deep bruise into their skin. It made their head spin pleasantly. They missed the sting left behind as Emeritus kissed over the mark he left there. It was a deep red color, speckled with purple and outlined with the shape of his teeth. He sat back, touching and admiring the work he'd done.

"You liked this?" Emeritus asked, lifting his gaze to meet that of the sibling in his lap.

"Yes." Syver replied, having enjoyed it immensely.

"May I take your shirt off now?" Emeritus asked, sticking to his guns when it came to ensuring Syver's comfort with everything.

"Yes." Syver said again.

They were certain that they wanted things to progress at that point in time. They leaned back and Emeritus took hold of the bottom hem of their shirt. A full body shudder occurred as the piece of clothing was removed. Though it was done in an instant, it wasn't nearly quick enough.

Syver took the shirt from Emeritus and they haphazardly rolled it into a partial fold before leaning away to drop it on the foot of the bed. Unless caught up in the extreme heat of the moment, Syver hated the concept of flinging their clothes about. It was partly their OCD and partly because they liked to take care of their things; so often their stuff had been destroyed by another when they were growing up.

Emeritus spent a long time looking at the newly exposed skin before him. He truly thought that Syver was beautiful. He wanted to cover the expanse of skin with his lips, kissing and biting them some more.

Syver's skin was slightly tanned and free from all hair, including their arms. They were built lean, but their muscle structure wasn't necessarily tight and fit. The sibling didn't keep up with a lifestyle that would promote an athletic type body and the truth was, they weren't that young anymore. Syver wasn't incredibly tall either, just about five foot six, and their height came from their long legs. Their torso was short and fairly narrow. Their belly was flat but soft. Each of their small, dark pink nipples, was adorned with little barbell piercings. They'd been well concealed beneath the shirt and surprised the former Papa. The man enjoyed the look of piercings, had a few himself, but their presence came as a surprise to him.

Syver took his silence with a helping of anxiety. They questioned if maybe Emeritus didn't like what he was seeing. That wasn't the case at all but unfortunately that was what was going on in the sibling's mind anyway.

"The fact you're not saying much is making me really nervous Dante." They said, words just blurting out beyond their control.

"I'm just admiring the view." Emeritus replied, shifting his eyes up to Syver's face and he had a little smile across his lips. He set his hands lightly on the sibling's sides.

"Yeah?" Syver asked, feeling a bit better about that but still nervous.

"Indeed so." The former Papa replied, reaching up and touching them more, just a hand pressed to the center of their chest. "I find you stunning, Syver. Words are not needed to take in the sight." He leaned forward and kissed the bruise he'd left there moments before.

The words had Syver blushing; the kiss had them shuddering.

"I thank you." They said nervously. "I am glad you like it, the sight, well, um me." They laughed quietly. "I just, I'm not bothered that you took my shirt off. I'm bothered by the silence. It's too quiet."

"If the silence bothers you so much, maybe you should fill it." Emeritus whispered with a little tease.

"Huh?" Syver said but immediately started to moan when Emeritus started to thumb over one of their nipples. "Oh fuck yes." They whispered, eyes fluttering as he pinched it lightly.

Dropping his hand from Syver's chest, Emeritus leaned in and started to kiss wherever he could reach from their position. He left soft kisses, warm and sweet. He reserved the biting for later, giving the sibling time to adjust to being pleasured. Where his lips were not, his hands were, softly kneading the skin and giving them light scratches.

Syver leaned their head down, pressing a kiss to the top of Emeritus's head. They turned their face, starting to kiss down over his neck. They were desperate to move along, tugging on his shirt. It was a wordless plea to remove it. The need to touch him was growing stronger by the moment. The sibling had no middle ground. They were either for no contact or full contact and nothing in between.

"Use words, Syver." Emeritus whispered, using his tongue to circle the sibling's nipple. "Ask me to remove the shirt, don't pull on it." His words were calm but firm. It was an expensive shirt, he didn't need it tugged and stretched out of shape.

"Sorry." Syver whispered, a little nervous laughter slipping out their lips. They knew how desperately needy they were behaving but couldn't help it. "Please Dante, I'd like you to take your shirt off."

Emeritus sat back, looking into Syver's eyes. He looked at them with a soft smile, unable to explain how much effect this particular person in his lap was making him feel the way he did. There was a definite fondness there and it pulled at his heartstrings. It wasn't a feeling the man had very often. He took his hands off the sibling and brought them to his chest. He began the task of unbuttoning his shirt the rest of the way.

Syver sat and watched the man slowly work through the buttons. They bit their lip, shivering as more skin was revealed to them. When it came time for Emeritus to pull the fabric down his arms, Syver was all too eager to help. They took the discarded shirt and much like they had done with their own, it was loosely rolled and set on the end of the bed.

"Oh Satan, you have a wonderful body." Syver whispered without much control of their words. They looked at Emeritus and their pupils expanded, very much liking what they saw before them.

The sibling knew the former Papa had years on them, though truly unaware of just how many years it was. His physique was as near to perfect as Syver had ever seen and it showed nothing of the man's true age. Lean and firm muscle was obvious through his soft skin. Emeritus was a shade of pale that indicated he didn't spend much time in the sun. A small dusting of hair was patched at the center of his chest, set between two black inked tattoos, one on each pectoral. The left was an ornate grucifix, expertly shaded and very well done. On his right, a Satanic cross, comprised of bold line work and edged in a brilliant shade of kelly green. The tattoos suited the man well.

His arms were long and narrow, but too held a firm muscle tone beneath the skin. Dark hairs covered his arms but it was not a heavy coating. Upon his wrist was a gold and platinum watch, very old but well maintained. It matched a pair of rings he wore on the opposite hand.

Syver let their eyes trail lower, biting hard against their bottom lip, as they felt the man's touch at their waistband. Emeritus's belly was soft and ever so slightly rounded from years of drinking and indulgence of fine foods.

Unable to stop themself, the sibling reached out, touching the body before them. They wanted to learn, to memorize the body of Emeritus, unsure if the opportunity to be with him intimately would extend beyond the afternoon. They used soft touches, smoothing over the man's torso, causing his breath to catch. They tickled his belly with fleeting brushes of their fingers. They traced over the lines of his tattoos. With a burst of confidence, they pinched a nipple and Emeritus groaned in appreciation.

"I'd like to kiss you some more Dante." Syver whispered, pressing their lips to his before getting a reply.

Emeritus was all too eager and willing to go along with the sibling's desires. He liked kissing them and started to think that maybe he'd never get enough of it. It wasn't his typical way of thinking. Yes, Emeritus enjoyed kissing but there was something unique in the way it felt inside when the person he was kissing was Syver.

Each one turned their head in opposing directions, deepening the kiss. Low moans crept up Syver's throat and Emeritus growled quietly when he felt the sibling roll their hips into his. Hands cupped cheeks and grasped at necks. Bodies pressed together, skin on skin and it was enough to make each one moan against the other. Emeritus grabbed Syver hard on the hips, pulling them down as he thrust upward off the bed. Syver slipped their legs into a wider stance, shuddering violently as the contact increased.

"Fuck." The sibling whimpered, it felt so good. "I…" They whispered and the request died on their lips as another moan rose up their throat.

"Tell me what you want." Emeritus said, biting softly over the other's neck. He left reddened marks that faded quickly.

A cross of nervousness and being too worked up to formulate words, Syver took hold of Emeritus's wrist. Unable to speak their desire, they hoped that showing him would be enough. They pulled until the man released their hip and proceeded to position the hand over the slight tent in their jeans. Syver rolled their hips again, grinding into the cupped palm of Emeritus. They held tightly to the man's wrist, holding his hand there between their legs.

It didn't take much of showing before Emeritus started to move his hand on his own. He caressed and rubbed his hand over the small bulge. He kept his hand in place, even as Syver let go of him in favor of wrapping their arms around his neck. The sibling continued to roll their hips into his hand, leaving a trail of warm kisses over the side of his neck.

Lips crashed and there was a moment of battling for dominance. It was Emeritus that ultimately came out victorious, but Syver had held their own quite well. The sibling cried out when the former Papa bit their lip, pulling it with his teeth. When he eventually let go, Syver sat back, breathless. They looked into his eyes and saw nothing but need and desire.

"I think I want to take my pants off." They whispered. "I want to feel your touch without anything between us."

Emeritus's eyes flashed, driven by lust for the sibling in his lap. He set both his hands against their chest, idly thumbing their nipples and twisting each barbell pierced through them. It caused Syver to whimper and their eyes to roll. It sent little shocks of pleasure right to the place between their legs.

"Will you take them off or would you grant me the honor of removing them for you?" Emeritus asked, voice husky as he dragged his lips over the sibling's throat.

"You can do it." Syver whispered with a shaking voice. They brushed a few little kisses to Emeritus's forehead. "I'd like you to do it."

Emeritus gently scratched down the front of Syver's body, leaving pale pink lines on their skin in the wake of his fingers. The dull pain made Syver moan, head lolling back. When Emeritus reached the waistband of their jeans, Syver righted their head and looked into his eyes.

They were nervous, still. It had been so long since anything like this happened in their life. It wasn't the kind of nervousness that made them want to stop. They wanted things to progress, and progress things did.

Keeping eye contact, Emeritus worked open the top button of Syver's fly. The jeans were designed with a series of five buttons. His fingers worked quickly, opening the second and third one down. The man's eyes fluttered and he groaned softly when the back of his hand brushed over smooth and silky material. Syver was wearing a pair of form fitting silk underwear. Emeritus had a thing for silk underwear. To say he liked to see a partner wearing them was an understatement.

To stop from overthinking the situation, Syver busied themself with kissing parts of Emeritus's neck and shoulders. They gently nibbled along the top portion of his chest, carefully holding their own hips still so the man could finish the task of opening their fly.

Emeritus had stopped his work in progress however, to touch and feel Syver through the silk. He turned his hand, cupping over their crotch, gently grinding the heel of his hand against them.

"Fuck yeah." Syver whispered, burying their face in the curve of Emeritus's neck. It really had been too long since they felt a touch like that and they remembered how truly wonderful it was.

"This feels good for you?" Emeritus whispered, lips moving over the sibling's ear.

"Yes Dante." Syver replied, moaning an obscene sound when the man curled his fingers over their silk covered penis. "Oh fuck yes." They whimpered, subconsciously bucking into his hold.

"Would you like me to continue as we are, or shall I finish undressing you?" Emeritus asked, a lightness in his tone.

"Whatever you want." Syver replied, shivering.

"No." Emeritus said a bit firmly. "What do you want, Syver? Tell me."

The sibling sat back, looking into his eyes and shaking their head. "Truly, I don't care just please don't stop touching me." They said and it sounded vaguely whiny as it was emotionally driven.

The way Syver said it, the way they sounded so desperate did something to Emeritus. He gave his hand a squeeze around Syver and the sibling whimpered a needy "please" before jerking their hips.

"I will not stop touching you, my sweet Syver." Emeritus whispered, leaning to kiss along the sibling's jaw.

Syver turned their head to catch Emeritus's lips in a heated kiss. They grasped the back of his neck, holding his mouth against theirs. It was a fierce kiss, a hungry kiss and Emeritus loved every single second of it. He worked Syver through the silk until he felt a damp patch beneath his fingers. They were moaning and whimpering in response to the touch but refused to break the kiss for longer than a second at a time to take a breath.

Deciding to do things his own way, Emeritus scooped the sibling up into his arms, turned around and dropped Syver onto the bed. There was only a minor interruption in direct contact before he settled over them and resumed his previous actions. Syver had been surprised by the change in position but did not once complain. They felt no need to complain either, as they were very much lost to the dizzying feelings of Emeritus stroking them as he was.

"Please." Syver whispered, looking up at Emeritus.

"Please what?" He asked, reaching out with his free hand to brush some hair out of Syver's face.

"Finish undressing me." The sibling whispered and felt needlessly embarrassed. They shut their eyes as they said it. "If I cum, I don't want it to be in my clothes."

Emeritus stilled his hand, looking down at Syver and was honestly a bit confused. "If?" He asked, but kept his tone without judgment. "Do you not trust that I can bring you release?" He touched the sibling on the cheek, hoping they would open their eyes.

Syver did not open their eyes and shook their head. They felt another wave of nervousness rush over them.

"Sometimes I can't." They whispered, finally looking back at Emeritus. "I just, I get so close but I just can't finish." A sound like a nervous laugh slipped past their lips.

"But you have before, yes?" Emeritus asked. Again he was not judgemental, just curious.

"Yeah." Syver replied. "A lot of times I can but not always."

"Do you wish to keep trying?" He asked. "Do you think that maybe it's you become too tense?"

"I want to keep trying, yes Dante." They said, feeling slightly less nervous and it was the former Papa's understanding attitude that helped them achieve the state of lessening nerves. "I am greatly enjoying this so far."

"I am enjoying this as well Syver." Emeritus replied. "Let me undress you and we shall give you the release you crave."

Syver smiled, though it was shyly. They gave a short nod and let themself relax. Reaching out they pet over Emeritus's chest, pressing the firm muscle and pinching a nipple. They watched the look on the man's face, as he lowered their jeans and underwear at the same time. They felt a hint of anxiety, suddenly concerned that Emeritus might not be pleased with their fully naked body.

The widening of his pupils and the gentle flair of his nostrils was definite proof that Emeritus liked what he saw. A large misconception about the former Papa was that he was attracted to a specific type of body and person. The truth however, was that the man appreciated any and all body types, appreciated all kinds of people. Syver's body was no exception. He found the sibling very much to his liking, just as beautiful as they could be.

Syver saw the increase in Emeritus's aroused state. They caught the widening eyes, the bite to his lip and the slight flick of his tongue inside his mouth. They were aware of longing gaze and the growing bulge in his suit pants. There was not a single shred of doubt in Syver's mind that Emeritus was enjoying seeing them naked; well, there shouldn't have been but there was. They cursed the anxiety.

Syver felt exposed, more so than they ever had before. They didn't know why so much seemed to be riding on the opinion of the former Papa. He was just a man, but to Syver it felt like he was so much more. Several people had seen the sibling naked and with the odd exception, most hadn't had negative things to say about them. Most experiences with being naked had been positive ones. They didn't understand why they felt such deep anxiety.

"My sweet Syver." Emeritus whispered softly, petting his hand down the sibling's chest, over their belly before closing a loose fist around their penis. "Satan has blessed you with an unparalleled beauty."

Syver's cheeks flushed red but it was undecided if it was Emeritus's words or gentle grasp that caused the flush.

"Thanks." The sibling said quietly.

The apprehension they felt started to disappear when Emeritus started to slowly work his hand over their shaft. Short strokes up and down were alternated with swipes of his thumb over the very tip. The sibling was not impressively endowed, quite the opposite in fact, but it didn't seem to phase the man giving them such delicious feelings of pleasure. They worried that it might have been an issue but was thankful that it hadn't been.

"You like to be touched like this?" Emeritus asked, looking into Syver's eyes.

"Yeah." Syver sighed, feeling their eyes start to roll as Emeritus teased mercilessly around the glans. "Fuck yeah." Their voice cracked.

"May I ask you a personal question, Syver?" Emeritus inquired.

"Your hand is literally wrapped around my penis Dante, you may ask me whatever the Hell you want." Syver replied, laughing quietly. "I'll answer anything you ask of me, oh fuck, if you promise not to stop what you are doing." They were speaking quickly again, babbling through the nervousness.

"When you say that you don't always reach a climax, is that only when you are with someone else? Or do you have a similar issue while you masturbate?" Emeritus asked, squeezing around their shaft and swiping his thumb through a small amount of pre-cum.

"Both." Syver answered. "I don't always cum when I masturbate. I'm am certain it helps me sleep because I frustrate myself into exhaustion." Again, they laughed quietly.

"Tell me what gets you there. Forget the times you can not orgasm. Think of those times you can." Emeritus whispered, leaning over to kiss over Syver's cheek. "Tell me how I can make you cum." There was a demanding firmness to the way he said it.

Syver whined. They didn't like to talk about these things. It wasn't shame but they just felt uncomfortable with verbalizing their needs.

"Can I show you?" They whispered, lips moving over Emeritus's ear. "Let me touch myself so you can see." Syver's voice was so quiet. They were breathing in a slight pant.

The former Papa groaned in response. "You wish to pleasure yourself for me?" His voice was thick with lust.

"Yes Dante." Syver replied, pushing the man back and away. Once they were clear from him, Syver shifted to sit up.

Emeritus slid back, settling on his knees. He was looking into Syver's eyes, very much looking forward to seeing the sibling masturbate in front of him. It was another thing he enjoyed a great deal.

Syver leaned back, holding themself up with one arm propped behind them. They spread their legs wide before reaching down to grasp their erection. They closed their eyes and hissed in pleasure. It was a feeling they were used to and one they enjoyed. They entertained the idea of opening their eyes again and looking at Emeritus, but to keep their anxiety at bay, they kept them closed.

Emeritus dropped his gaze to Syver's hand, so elegantly wrapped around their penis. He moaned, when Syver did, and watched as the sibling began a firm and steady paced stroke. It was a truly beautiful sight, seeing someone pleasure themselves. The implications of a sure way to bring oneself to ecstasy and to honor the Master below was quite pleasing to the former Papa. He may have been retired from the clergy but still held strong to his faith and he praised anyone who honored Lucifer in this primal fashion.

"Fuck." Syver whispered, thumbing over the tip of their penis, twisting their wrist on an upward stroke. They opened one eye, just a crack, and saw Emeritus watching them intently. It didn't spark further anxiety, rather it sparked a deeper arousal.

Emeritus watched the sibling, stroke and squeeze and tease themself closer to their end. His lips parted as his breath came out in short, shallow pants. His cock twitched beneath his pants, swelling and pressing against the line of his zipper. The slight discomfort was pleasurable to him. He brought his hand to his crotch, pressing against it, rubbing the zipper over his tip. He groaned loudly and it caused Syver to open their eyes and look right at him.

"Does this please you Dante?" The sibling asked, so hyped up on adrenaline and desire all nervousness left them. "Does my self pleasuring make you want to cum?" They licked their top lip seductively.

"Yes." Emeritus grunted, squeezing himself tightly.

"Makes me want to cum too." Syver whispered, with a teasing smile. "Makes me want to cum for you, Dante."

Emeritus let go of himself, pressing both hands into the mattress. He leaned over, crawling towards the sibling. When he got close enough, he pulled them into a hot and heavy round of kisses.

Syver moaned deeply, kissing Emeritus with the same level of intensity and need. It fueled their desires and they stopped stroking their shaft, instead focusing all their attention to the sensitive glans. They worked themself hard, reaching for that end, that fantastic climax, they so desperately craved. The tension built, the feeling coiling tighter and tighter but it refused to snap. They were right there, right on the very edge but the wave just refused to crest.

"Fuck." Syver cried into Emeritus's mouth. "I can't-"

"You can." Emeritus said, reaching to tug and twist Syver's nipple piercings. "You are tense, sweet Syver." He whispered, kissing down the sibling's neck.

"I'm so close." Syver whispered, nuzzling the side of Emeritus's head. "So close." Their voice cracked.

The sibling was working their hand hard, twisting and squeezing and applying just too much pressure, as they tended to like the rougher approach. They started crying as the frustration began to overwhelm the arousal.

"Relax yourself, Syver." Emeritus said calmly, bringing one hand to rest on their cheek. He guided their head so he could look into their eyes. "You're thinking too much. Let it go and cum in the name of Satan almighty."

Syver whimpered loudly, trying as Emeritus said. They tried to relax, to let go. They squeezed their penis head, rocking their hips into their tight fist. "I can't." They sobbed but didn't stop. Another flick of their thumb over the tip sparked another wave of arousal and the coil inside tightened.

Emeritus wrapped his other hand around Syver's, helping them to work over their leaking erection. He pressed his head against Syver's and held some intense eye contact. The sibling was shaking but held Emeritus's gaze.

"Cum." Emeritus firmly commanded, and Syver did with a wordless shout.

Syver came hard, spilling their release over their own hand as well as Emeritus's. They were shaking and leaning onto Emeritus, clinging to him to keep themself upright. The ordeal was enough to push Emeritus over as well, but the man had enough experience and control over his own body the climax was dry. He held onto Syver until they stopped shaking. Eventually, he laid them both down onto the bed and continued to hold the sibling close.

Syver was breathless and still, aside from the occasional twitch. They opened their eyes and saw Emeritus was looking at them with a soft fondness in his eyes.

"Thank you." They whispered. Emeritus replied with a sweet kiss to their forehead. "I wish to spend the rest night together." Syver whispered, leaning back and watching Emeritus through heavy lidded eyes.

Emeritus felt his heart flutter at their words and he was curious as to just what it was that made this sibling in particular cause such a reaction in him. He looked across the short distance between them and into their eyes. He thought about what he wanted to say before he said it.

"You wish to spend your night with me?" He asked and actually sounded nervous himself. The effect Syver had on him was curious indeed. The man was rarely nervous. It wasn't an impossible emotion for him but it was one he didn't often feel.

"I mean, if you want to spend yours with me, Dante." Syver whispered, leaning closer to the man and looking at him with a hopeful smile. "I, um, I don't want to be a bother."

"You're no bother Syver." Emeritus said and took hold of their cheek in one of his hands. "The fact of the matter is, I prefer to spend my nights alone."

"Oh." The sibling whispered, trying to hide their disappointment.

"For you, I'm willing to make an exception." Emeritus said quickly and in that moment he knew that he'd fallen. It was not love. It wasn't lust. It was something he didn't have any explanation for. It went deeper than curiosity and wonder. It was definitely a heavy interest. "I leave tomorrow morning Syver, and I'd really like it if you would spend the night with me."

Syver felt a flood of mixed emotions. They were obviously happy about it. They had wanted this opportunity to spend the night with the former Papa. There was underlying anxiety and worry, because that was how the sibling tended to function. Then they felt honored that Emeritus would make an exception for them. The honor did not come without confusion, as they didn't know what the exception was based upon. The inklings of not being worthy started to creep back in but Syver tried really hard to silence them and push them away. There was also a sadness to knowing he'd be gone in the morning.

"I will." They whispered, smiling at him. "Thank you, um, for making an exception."

Emeritus leaned over and kissed the sibling right on their lips. "Let me take you to dinner, and then we shall come back here. We can talk and maybe share a few drinks, if that is of interest." He whispered, flicking his tongue out and across Syver's mouth.

"I'm very interested in doing that Dante." Syver replied, giving him a quick kiss.

"Let us get you cleaned up and dressed." Emeritus said. "Return to your dormitory and dress in something nice. I intend to bring you some place extravagant."

"Shall I come back here once I'm ready?" Syver asked.

"Meet me outside the main church doors in an hour." Emeritus replied. "We will leave from there."

Chapter Text


The walk back to the Sibling of Sin dormitories seemed to take much longer than it actually had. Syver left Emeritus the Second feeling good and confident with everything that had gone on that afternoon. By the time they reached the walkway that separated the dorms from the main church building, their mind decided to revolt against them. Any and all confidence they'd managed to build up cam crashing down. An onslaught of self doubt washed over the sibling of sin and they felt like everything was going to start going wrong. The feelings came out of nowhere.

It was often difficult for Syver to stay truly happy. The capability was certainly there but years of mental abuse and immediate shutdowns from family and friends left them feeling like maybe being happy wasn't in their cards. Over the last several years, the abusive treatment had been stopped but the damage was done and slow to heal; never quite reaching normal levels. They believed that on some plane of existence, that their afternoon of joyful experiences was to be followed by something going awry; it always had. They were positive that good things never lasted for them. Syver was upset that they let their guard down, even as it felt right, felt amazing, in the moments. They began to be upset with themself for letting the very notion of happiness tempt them. There was no indication, no warning signs that what happened between the sibling and the former Papa would end badly, but something inside Syver's mind was set on convincing them that it would.

They were able to manage keeping a straight faced, outward composition of calm but they felt the opposite inside. They hurried their steps closer to the building and didn't start crying until they reached the main entrance. Once the large doors closed behind them, the tears rushed out and over their cheeks. The hiccups and sobbing were not far behind. Syver took notice that they were alone in the dormitory foyer and took a few minutes to lean against the wall to cry it out without being concerned with a potential interruption. It was a few steps off a full breakdown, but they managed to get through it. Still crying but a little more calm, they pushed away from the wall and headed to the stairs that led to their shared dorm room.

Climbing the steps slowly, Syver entertained the idea of locking themself away for the remainder of the day once they reached their destination. They were overwhelmed with unfounded regret for what they let happen. They were drowning in self doubt that seriously made them think that Emeritus had only been kind because he felt pity for the sibling. Despite the warm feelings and promises that it was genuine emotion, Syver was very much worried it had all been a lie. Every negative emotion they buried inside came bubbling to the surface and they were hysterical by the time they reached the top of the steps. They stumbled down the hall to their place, navigating the familiar surroundings through tear-blurred vision. As they turned the key to the front door, they hoped that the place was empty inside. Midori had been gone when they left and they really didn't want to deal with her outgoing personality; not while they were in a state such as the one they found themself. Syver wanted to be alone… and they felt bad about that too.

The dormitory had not been empty.

"Where the Hell have you been?" Midori asked once Syver had the door open.

She was up on her feet and was facing the door as her roommate stepped through. She shut her mouth immediately upon realizing that Syver was crying.

"I was out." Syver said, turning their body away from the eyes of their close friend. They just wanted to get into their bedroom without further questioning.

"Are you alright?" Midori asked, rushing over.

She never caught on to Syver needing space in times like these, no matter how often it happened. Seeing tears in her friend's eyes set her mothering instincts into hyper mode. Midori was the kind of person who liked to try and fix things that were going wrong. Her intentions were often noble, but she was more often than not, overbearing.

"Stop. I'm fine." Syver said, lifting their hand to stop the sister from getting any closer. They weren't fine but they truly just needed her to back off until they had their head on straight. "I'm fine." They repeated.

Midori stopped walking and looked at Syver. "You don't look fine." She whispered. "What happened to upset you like this? Will you talk to me?"

"No." The sibling snapped. The quick answer and shortness of their tone was strictly anxiety driven and the intention was not to upset the sister. "I'm sorry." They whispered, realizing the snap was rude.

"It's okay." Midori said, used to Syver's emotional outbursts. "What the Hell happened there?" She blurted out upon noticing the rather large bruise on the sibling's chest.

It wasn't concealed by the neckline of their shirt and was clearly visible. Though Midori wouldn't have known such, it was the mark left behind by Emeritus. It was deeply discolored and it looked much worse than any love bite she'd seen in her many years of experience with such things. She had a moment of worry that her friend had been truly hurt. The tears in Syver's eyes didn't help ease that worry.

"It's nothing." Syver replied, pulling their shirt up to cover the mark. They weren't necessarily ashamed of it but they wished to avoid further questioning.

Midori laughed, but not because anything was funny. "That's not nothing Syv." She said. "Is that why you're crying? Did someone hurt you?"

The unbalanced mood the sibling felt in the moment made them feel very attuned to things they could normally brush off. They hated when people called them Syv but often let Midori get away with it. In that moment, Syver just snapped.

"Don't worry about it Midori!" They said and sounded angry. "Just fuck off and leave me alone."

"I'm sorry Syver." The sister said.

She was sorry but couldn't drop it. She looked down at the place the mark was hidden. She looked back up at Syver's face. She was trying to figure out what was going on in their head but couldn't.

"Syver." She whispered calmly. "Did something bite you?" She thought, strangely, that maybe an animal came out of nowhere and went into attack mode on her friend.

"I said enough. End of discussion." The sibling said, feeling the urge to cry some more. They pressed against the bite to cover it but the sensation they felt inside made their mind swim.

"Wait." Midori said as if a light went on in the attic. "Was that a hickey? Were you with someone?" She couldn't help but feel a smug bit of joy. She knew it had been some time since Syver was with someone like that.

"I'd rather not discuss this." Syver answered and they headed towards their bedroom.

Midori was a smart woman and was quick to put pieces together in her head. The light of realization got brighter. The sister sometimes lacked common sense and just continued to push her friend for answers, even as they asked, no demanded the end of discussion.

"You went to see the Second, didn't you?" She said, taking the steps to follow her friend. She stopped outside their bedroom door.

The sibling stopped walking, leaning over against their door frame. They sighed heavily, letting their eyes slide closed. They figured the sooner they admitted it, the sooner they could be alone. They hoped they could be alone. It was once more, Syver finding themself giving into a friend, letting themself be walked over. It wasn't right but it would temporarily ease the annoyance.

"Yeah." Syver sighed, feeling like denying it would be pointless.

"Did things not go well?" Midori asked quietly. "Is that why you're crying?"

"They went very well." Syver whispered. Their back was to the sister, but they stayed poised at the door. "I'm just… Can you please give me time to process all of this?"

"Yes." Midori replied. She stepped back and let her friend have their space. It sometimes took a push but once Midori was asked, she did let things go. It was a habit she needed to break.

Syver turned back towards the living room and looked at their friend. "Thank you." They whispered.

"Sure." The sister said and smiled softly.

"Please don't tell anyone about this." Syver said, a serious look in their teary eyes. "I trust you won't, but I needed to say it."

"I understand." Midori said. "Not a word." She promised. Midori was a gossip but she kept her word on important issues.

Syver nodded their head and turned back to their room. They stepped fully into it and shut the door.

"I'll be in my own room if you want to talk later." Midori called through the door.

"Okay." Syver called back but had no plans to talk. Like most instances, they intended to bury this all away and act like nothing was wrong. It was a terrible coping mechanism but it was all they knew.

Stripping down to their underwear, Syver crawled into their bed and cried some more. The anxious feelings from their time with the former Papa, and dealing with Midori had been enough to tire them out. They didn't intend to fall asleep, only lay down to help relax. The sleep came quickly and was not restful.