Yvain pinched the bridge of his nose as he abandoned the great hall, turning right at the last to wander aimlessly through the keep.

Bickering, bickering, and more bickering. He still did not see why they could not simply raze Rothland and finally have done with the lot of them. Nothing but trouble, that nation.

Sighing, he gave serious thought to abandoning the entire affair and retreating to his personal keep. Let those who enjoyed them continue to bicker and squabble over the politics. When they finally needed a sword, they would know where to find—

He saw the hand as it snatched him, tumbling gracelessly into the small alcove, feeling the brush of the velvet curtain closing it off from the hallway, colliding into something hard and warm.

Then a familiar mouth covered his, and Yvain shuddered. He went easily as he was turned and pushed up again the wall, sinking his hands into hair that was fine as silk and pale as snow, visible even in the dark of the alcove.

Such little nooks were scattered all about, intended to give privacy in a place where such was seldom found. Meant for talking, resting…and more frequently employed for far more entertaining purposes.

Corentin tasted like mulled wine, the scent of winter and travel still upon him. Yvain released his hair to grip the strong shoulders, then wrapped his arms around Corentin’s neck, holding him as tight and close as he could.

He met with no protest, merely compliance, Corentin as content to press as Yvain was to be pressed.

“Mmm, you arrived early,” he managed when they at last broke apart.

“Aye,” Corentin replied, fingers pressing knowingly and Yvain truly hated that they were not where they might remove the bothersome layers of clothing, but grateful that neither of them was wearing armor. “The weather cooperated, for a change. How do the talks proceed?”

Yvain rolled his eyes and merely tugged Corentin close for another kiss. Would he ever tire of this? Nay, ’twas impossible. How could he ever tire of Corentin, the fact that Corentin was his?

That Corentin had yanked him into an alcove to steal kisses.

‘Twas nearly enough to make him dizzy.

He moaned as Corentin shoved a leg between his thighs, pressing against him, making everything better and worse and how was he ever to return to politics after this?

Teeth sank into his ear, and Yvain shivered at the low, velvet-voice in his ear. “Will you be missed were I to kidnap you?”

“N-nay,” Yvain gasped out. “They like too much the sounds of their own voices. Mine is of little interest.”

Corentin kissed him. “My presence I kept unannounced, and I have no desire to spend the day talking in circles.” He abruptly left off his teasing, and gently cupped Yvain’s face in his hands, voice soft and serious. “I have missed you these three weeks, Yvain.”

“The feeling is entirely mutual,” Yvain agreed. “However did you come to be here, though?”

“I saw you, and merely moved to get ahead of you, suspecting you would head this way.”

Yvain frowned. “How could you know my path when even I did not?”

Corentin laughed gently, and brushed a soft kiss across his mouth. “You always head for the library when you have not our bed to seek.”

“Oh,” Yvain said softly, startled. He could think of nothing to say, though the simple words warmed him to his very marrow. So strange, that someone would trouble to make note of such a silly detail. That Corentin would make note.

Giving up on words, he settled for another kiss, not breaking it until their lips were sore and they both were left gasping for breathe.

“I vow you make it hard to behave, Yvain. Come, let us find our bed before the Grand Duke finds us and administers a lashing – or worse, drags us back into the talks.”

“Aye,” Yvain replied, and went easily as Corentin held fast to his hand and dragged him from the alcove and off to their room.