"Philip," Jason whispered as he entered their bedroom, His demon was looking out the large, marble framed windows at the moon.
"You never answered James' question. Is what you have with him true love, or your attempt to get back at me?" Philip whispered.
"I never wanted you to get hurt."
"That is not an answer," Philip growled softly.
"Very well then. Are you not a husband?" Jason said sharply.
"Are you divorcing me?"
"No," Jason said heatedly. "Look at us, Philip. What kind of relationship is this, where both of us find the need to sneak around?"
"Do you not love me?"
"Of course I love you, but I'm tired of you making a fool out of me."
"It seems it is I who is the fool," Philip grunted. "Thinking a Legatio could ever love a Centurion."
"Philip, I just said I love you."
"But it wasn't enough," Philip replied, turning around to face Jason, his white eyes burning.
"But I want it to be. I want to be able to depend on you, but I can't, not with you sleeping around like a whore. Philip, don't you understand. You can't hide anything from me!"
"Why, you've been spying on me? You can't trust me?"
"The bond Philip...remember, we are bonded. Every time you sleep with another person I feel it."
"Then you should enjoy it."
"But I don't. How can I, knowing how meaningless sex is to you? All you care about is the pure physical pleasure of it, not the love. How do you think I feel when you touch me, knowing with how many men you've done the same? Do you know what it does to our lovemaking? How can it mean anything, when it is so meaningless to you?"
"And you think it means more for James?"
"Look at me, Philip...could he have done this to me without love," Jason said, extending his wings and filling the room with a brilliant light that made Philip's glowing eyes appear dim.
Stunned by Jason's aura, Philip sank down to his knees and covered himself with his wings to hide from the light as he wept. "For...forgive me. I don't deserve you."
"Philip, I do love you, but this foolishness has to stop. You are not a Centurion anymore; you're my Demon, my husband, my bond-mate. Can't we be enough for each other?"
"You will let Centurions die, when they don't need to?"
"Of course not, but I didn't save the Empire so it can become overwhelmed by your spawn. Fate is something not so easily escaped. That is true of the Centurions, as well. Not all of them can become your Spawn, or even one of my Saints."
"I do not know if you will be enough for me. When I see a man..."
"You see another person waiting to be conquered," Jason chuckled as he slowly folded his wings, letting the light dim. "I understand, Philip. If it could be so, you would keep me tied to our bed in an eternal act of love making."
"That actually sounds quite nice." Philip chuckled softly as he let his wings fall back behind him.
"But it can't be that way, Philip...at least not for a long time," Jason said as he walked slowly to his lover.
"Then what can we do to make things right between us?"
"You can start by promising you will never sneak out of our bed, ever again...unless there is a true emergency of course."
"Of course," Philip nodded with a grin on his face.
"Don't give me that look, Philip," Jason whispered. "You make it sound as if it will be so easy for you, but we both know it won't be."
"I will try," Philip insisted as he stood back up.
"Promise me you will do more than try."
"You could always leash me to the bed," Philip offered.
"But I don't want to. It is not right that I have to leash you as much as I do now. Do not force me into turning it into a nightly event."
"It would be the simplest solution."
"It would also earn me your resentment, something I do not want."
Biting his lower lip, Philip crossed his arms over his broad chest. "Then what do you suggest?"
"You can start by making it a habit to wear some real clothes, for a change. I'm not saying that I don't like being able to see you half naked, most of the time. It's just that I'm tired of all the other men having that same pleasure, as well."
"Jealousy," Philip chuckled.
"As your husband, only I have the right to give you a lustful look."
"Really? So what about the thousands of Centurions whose mouths fall open every time you show yourself to them?"
"I am their Emperor, so it is to be expected."
"But it is not, for a Field Marshal?" Philip chuckled.
"That is the difference between you and me...when someone gives me that certain look, I take is as flattery. You, on the other hand, see it as a challenge."
"I like challenges," Philip grinned, as he wrapped his arms around Jason. The anger he had sensed through their bond was now wonderfully gone.
"Then you will accept my challenge to not leave our quarters without a full set of clothes and, if possible, heavy armor."
"Heavy armor?" Philip pouted, his nose wrinkling. "Do you know how difficult is it to get out of?"
"Exactly why I want you wearing it." Jason laughed as Philip lifted him up off the floor. "I'm hoping that if it takes you an hour, each time you undress, you will be less willing to do so every time the opportunity arises."
"Like now?" Philip grinned, his body rising on its own.
"Seriously, Philip," Jason admonished, as his Demon spun him around.
"I am being serious. Very well. I won't leave the bedroom without being in full dress armor. I hope you can stand the smell."
"You can bathe."
"And what about you? What promise are you going to make me?"
"What is it you want from me?"
"James," Philip growled.
"You wish that I not see him anymore?"
"No of course not. You are right about me...I do enjoy sex, just for the pleasure of it...except when it comes to you. You were wrong to suspect that. What you also don't know, is that I also know when you are making love to another person...even Amanda. I was mistaken, however, in thinking my sexual acts give you the same pleasure as your lovemaking gives me. The moment James bonded to you, I had to hunt you down. After all the pleasure the admiral was giving you, I didn't want to be left out. It was when James' bond to you became stronger that I learned my danger, for his bond is one that can, possibly, challenge my own."
"That will never happen."
"It could, if I don't change my ways. Still, having felt James' love for you, I am not the sort of man to deny it to you. All I ask, is you try to convince James to share a little of his love with me, as well."
"That might be difficult, for he is not overly fond of you."
"Which is a mistake, I must say. After all, we are both Field Marshals. Would it not be in the best interest of the Empire, if the two of us got along better?"
"Philip...I ask you for some sign of fidelity, and you ask permission to sleep with another angel."
"You didn't ask my permission."
"You didn't ask mine when you made it your goal to sleep with every Centurion before he reaches his fortieth birthday."
"True, but promise me you will try."
"Very well, but let it go unsaid that I didn't try to warn you," Jason laughed, as he was lowered down on their bed.
"Now, about this trip of yours down to the Southern Isles...is it a purely diplomatic mission? Or is it how you two plan to celebrate your bonding?"
"You can't come, if that's what you're hinting at."
"But why?" Philip growled.
"For the good of the Empire." Jason laughed. "We can't both leave Domus. That would leave only Marcus, and he's busy fighting the remains of the rebellion in Huron."
"You are willing to trust the entire Empire to me?" Philip laughed, as he climbed on top of his lover.
"I'm willing to let Varrus keep an eye on you."
"Not to mention entertained."
"I'm leaving that job for Kyle," Jason replied.
"You're leaving me the imp? You think you can trust the two of us?"
"Can you trust James and me?"
"It seems I have little choice." Philip growled as he licked his lips. "When will you be leaving?"
"As soon as Varrus is installed as Speaker of the Senate."
"That won't be for another three days. Very well, you can have your honeymoon with James, but for the next three days you're mine."
"And what is it you wish from me?"
"That you don't leave this bed until I let you."
"What about the children?"
"I'll tell them you're sick, and need to stay in bed. At the very least, I hope to make you too tired to leave," Philip promised before running his tongue over Jason's neck, and up his chin until their lips met.
"You forgive me?" Jason whispered as Philip continued to make love to him.
"You were willing to forgive me, or would you rather we duel over it?"
"I accept your forgiveness," Jason smiled.
"Do you accept that I'm flawed?"
"It's not like the stories, is it?" Jason replied, a hint of sadness in his voice.
"What do you mean?"
"Like the Prince of Ralsat. He had no flaws, and got his happy ending."
"We might still get our happy ending."
"Not for a long time."
"But we'll get there," Philip insisted, stopping anymore protests from Jason with a kiss.