So I actually drew this picture back in May but I never posted it because I was writing a bit of story to go along with it, and for some reason despite being barely a thousand words it still took me until now to get it done.

Anyway, this is for my girl Clyde over on TOFT. Hope you guys like it too.

For Jaime, finding a restaurant in Venice is more trouble than it’s worth. Almost everything about Venice is more trouble than it’s worth, really, from the overpriced gondola rides to the mix of shops that line the major streets with their glitzy combination of tourist kitsch, Venetian glass, and incredibly expensive carnival masks. Still, he can’t deny that it does have a certain charm to it, especially after sundown, and the street markets are a thing of absolute beauty. Besides, Rori likes it, and that’s the most important part.

But going to dinner is still an exercise in frustration.

"What about here?" Rori suggests.

Jaime casts the restaurant in question an appraising—and mistrustful—glance. “Luv, it looks like a tourist trap.”

"They have English on the menu."

"And that proves it’s a tourist trap," he concludes. "Let’s find somewhere else, darling, come on."

"In case you’ve forgotten, I don’t read Italian. I’d like to have some idea of what I’m putting in my mouth before I order." Her tone is fondly exasperated and faintly arch and she has that taunting look in her eyes that he likes so much and god—god, he loves her.

He takes her arm and starts walking again, ignoring the obvious innuendo in favour of finding a place to eat. “I can translate for you. Trust me, luv, in Venice, the idea is to find somewhere without English on the menu. Or at the very least somewhere that only added English as an afterthought. The places that cater to the tourists are always wildly overpriced.”

She quirks a brow, lifting her hand to touch the necklace at her throat, a glittering couture piece of garnets and diamonds set in gold, and he knows what she’s going to say before she opens her mouth. “And since when do you care about overpriced?”

"I don’t, luv," he says with a grin, catching her hand and kissing her fingertips, "but these places charge an arm and a leg for mediocre service. If I’m going to be paying a small fortune, I want to make it worth my money."

She laughs and lets him draw her on.

They end up eating at one of the fancy restaurants along the Cannaregio. Jaime bribes the maitre d’ for a table on the waterfront patio and they joke as they pick out a bottle of wine worth at least as much as their food. The meal does cost a small fortune, of course, but the service is worth every cent. Jaime has always been free with his money, and after four years with him Rori has learned the art of living large.

The menu, needless to say, does not have a word of English on it.

It’s almost midnight by the time they finally finish their meal. They wander back along the canal, weaving in and out of the twinkling lights of the late-night markets, laughing as they duck into shadowy alcoves to share a kiss. Jaime buys them each a sweet apple from a fruit stand and they eat them as they make their way home. Someone tosses Rori a flower from a second story window; she catches it with a smile and a wave and tucks it into the neckline of her dress.

The apartment they are renting for the week is along the Canal Grande, all marble floors and Venetian glass chandeliers and beautiful night breezes—Jaime only pays for the best, after all. Rori tucks her flower into a tall crystal glass and sets it on their dining table while Jaime takes off his shoes and tosses his jacket over the back of an armchair.

Rori follows him into the bedroom as he is unbuttoning his shirt; he watches her fondly as she balances first on one foot then the other to take off her high heels. She catches his eye and grins at him, straightening up and coming over to dance her fingers down his chest from her newly reduced height.

"All right, I’ll admit it," she says after a moment. "You were right."

"Hm?" he replies. He brushes his thumb across her jaw, then delicately undoes her necklace for her, setting it down on the nearby nightstand.

"About the restaurant. You were right."

"Oh. Of course I was, darling. Don’t you know I’m right about everything?"

Her laugh is a touch mocking, but not unkind. “Really? Because I can think of a few things you were definitely not right about,” she says, tracing her hand down the curve of his upper arm. There is an old burn scar there, faded now and smoothed by years.

Jaime catches her hand, threading his fingers through hers. “Those don’t count,” he says with a grin. “Anyone would have made the same mistake.”

"Right. It wasn’t remotely reckless or stupid on your part."

"Not in the slightest."

"And you didn’t get yourself into it at all."

"Of course not."

"You just don’t want to admit you made a mistake," she says, laughing.

Jaime puts a fingertip to her lips. “Hush,” he says. Then he pauses, tilting his head slightly towards their open bedroom window. “Can you hear that?”

"What?" Rori listens for a moment. "You mean the music?"

"It’s a tango," Jaime says. The smile he turns on her them is warm and slow and very different from the teasing grin of a moment before, and it sends goosebumps rippling across her breast. "Do you remember the steps?"

For a moment, Rori’s voice is stuck in her throat, then she arches an eyebrow and lifts her hand to rest on his shoulder. “Is that a challenge?”

Jaime settles a hand on her waist and leans in close, brushing her ear with his lips. “Always, darling, always.”

They dance.

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My name is Jared, or you can just call me Tchy. I'm a queer aro kid just kickin' around on the internet. I like writing, fantasy, late nights, books, lions, punk, and queer politics. I sustain myself mainly on a diet of chocolate, salt and vinegar chips, and strong tea in a mug decorated with dirty Shakespeare quotations. Sometimes I like to draw inappropriate things.

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