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[L&S] Dance With Me


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Pierce-Niege was once a grand country estate, a summer home for foriegn nobles just far enough outside of Paris to bask in the glory of the throne - from a safe distance. Like so many things, the hamlet of Anteuil had eventually been swallowed by the great city, but the family had kept the marbled buildings and green expanse safe from the predations of time and unrest.

It was a quiet home, usually - the Camporgiano family entertained, but the events were exceptionally exclusive and occurred with an almost obsessive regularity throughout the year. Mysterious campers could sometimes be found among the trees and small clearings away from the main roads around the estate, though those that intruded on the estates to catch glimpses of these odd guests were far more lucky to be found by irate security than by those elusive campers. They were a source of endless speculation by tabloids and slow news cycles, but not even the most dedicated paparazzi or would-be journalist had yet to completely suss out the relationship between the family and these strange denizens of the estate.

As the sun set over the city, old fashioned candelabras were lit in the main rooms, with electric lights ignored in favor of the flickering flames of the candles. Drapes were folded neatly back from their windows by crisply dressed servants, and the itinerant guests of the true masters of the house made their way to the servant cottages, entertaining with fiddles, guitars, and dances. They kept a teasing distance from the main home, both eager and wary of an invitation by the lord of the manor or his lady.

They kept their own dance, the lord and lady of the house. He rose before her these nights, he had ever since the second Great War. He used the time to see to the household and their larger holdings, leaving the rest of the night once she rose for his undivided attention. She, of late, had started to smile again and play little games with him - sneaking out of the manor house to go dance with the gypsies or leave clues for him to follow her 'round the city. Lovers games that reminded him of nights before wars of guns and trenches.

She was still deciding the entertainment for the evening, if she felt more to be hunted or to seek her love out to hunt together, when she came across the flowers in the front hall. They were handpicked, the stems ragged instead of precisely cut as shop flowers would be, and laying vase-less on the small table near the entrance. Rosemary and viscaria, tied with a laurel branch instead of ribbon.

She'd been dead for centuries, her body a mockery of the natural order, but her blood pushed through her body so her heart could skip a beat and she took in a sharp breath the hold as she stared at the message. She picked up the crude bouquet petals catching on the fabric of her gloves as she turned it over her hands, caught between a keen sadness and the bright pangs of renewed hope.

"I've been told it's proper to bring the lady of a house a gift, when visiting."

She started at the voice from behind her, and flushed; she turned blindly, throwing herself in the arms of the Kindred behind her with a childish abandonment. She held him tightly, crushing the flowers between them in her carelessness and bursting out in her native Italian. "We thought you-...that we'd might never see you again, but we hoped!"

She smiled up at him as he grinned, his own Italian still spiced with the exotic accent she'd never been able to properly place. "So I see. Pierce-Niege? The Ventrue have infected you," he teased.

She playfully brandished the bouquet at him and asked archly, "Just us?"

"Fair play," he relented and kissed her cheeks. He twined her arm in his, acting the proper gentlemen she knew he wasn't and certainly didn't look in his off-white t-shirt and threadbare jeans. "Where is your better half, little dove? I was told you were both here..."

She almost teased him back, but caught the slight look of fear in his eyes when he asked. After so long, it's hard to believe until you see him. I'd want - I did want proof and now you're here. She squeezed his arm and smiled reassuringly. "Gianlucetto!" she called out, startling the servants and mortal family within earshot with her unheard of indulgence in impropriety within the house. "Gianlucetto, we have a guest!"

The Guest
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"Sir, the security detail reports no problems at the gates. Perhaps the autumn chill has driven away the canaglie."

"You know better than that, Stephan. The scoundrels are our welcome guests... it's the trespassers I'm worried about."

Stephano's lips flickered in a wry smile, and he bowed slightly, an old habit Gianluca had failed to break him of, even after centuries of friendship.

"Of course, sir."

That was as informal as he'd ever gotten Stephano to be - he'd finally convinced him, around the turn of the 20th century or so, to drop the 'My Lord' in favor of a "sir". Not because Gianluca didn't value tradition, but because he considered his relationship with Stephano to be beyond such formalities, and had for some time. Stephano disagreed, and they'd managed to reach a respectable compromise on the matter, so long as there were no visitors around. Company still brought out the formality in Gianluca's closest friend and manservant.

"Anyway, that should do it for the evening, sì? I imagine Mariella will be awake soon, and I--"

"Gianlucetto!" she called out, startling the servants and mortal family within earshot with her unheard of indulgence in impropriety within the house. "Gianlucetto, we have a guest!"

The two youthful-looking Italian men exchanged a startled glance with each other. Neither of them had heard the lady of the estate shout - nor sound so excited about something - in decades.


"I've no idea, Stephan. I'd best check, though!"


They heard the door to his study burst open, and he hurried into the main hall.

"Mariella, my dove, what--"

Like his wife, the sight of their guest stopped him in his tracks. He was stunned, and for a moment he could do naught but stare at the ragged (yet handsome) man with an arm through his wife's. But then joy, like a dam bursting, flooded across his features, and he rushed forward, embracing the other Kindred as a mortal man might embrace a long-lost brother. It was a startling display of affection, witnessed at this point by many of their confused servants and family members. For most of them, they had never seen the Lord or Lady of the house display this level of fondness for anyone, save each other. And even then, never this dramatically, save for a select few.

"My God, Nicu! It is you, my good friend! I can not believe my eyes!"

He, too, had reverted to his native Italian, and after a moment the two men stepped back after a moment, sizing up the changes that several centuries had wrought. Though their faces and bodies were as young and immortal as always, the clothes had changed, though not their significance. In contrast to Nicolae's sexy thrift-store finds, Gianluca was dressed in the casual apparel of the super-rich, a pair of slacks and a button-down shirt, all Italian-made designer clothes, sleeves rolled up to the elbows in a way only a wealthy man would dare to do to a 400€ piece of clothing. But it was also obvious that neither the differences in their clothes, nor their social status, made any difference whatsoever to Signore di Camporgiano.

"Where on earth have you been? We have been waiting for you, there is much to catch up on. Please.. please, come in, make yourself at home here, Nicu. Tell us everything."

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