An Of Rust and Gold Valentine’s Day short

This is a short I made because I’m a hopeless romantic, using two characters from my book Of Rust and Gold and likely takes place between the ending and the sequel. Not sure if this counts as a spoiler though? It’s no secret that the characters involved end up together in the original book. Anyway, that can be read here.


Leo had to wonder if he’d gotten so drunk he slipped and hit his head, because the sight before him could not be real.

Argus stretched out on a chaise. Large flowers surrounded him, seeming to burst right out of the marble floors and were in such an abundance he couldn’t see the servants standing behind them with their feather fans. Of course not, he only saw the fans as they blew a gentle breeze through Argus’ loose, golden locks. And he was naked, or at least if he was naked it would be a more natural sight to see. Argus still wore his stockings, they stopped at his thigh and above them hanging jewelry concealed his genitals.


Argus brought his finger to his lips to shush him. He reached out and let his hand dangle like he did when he expected servants and lesser nobles to kneel down and kiss his hand. “Don’t speak,” he whispered. “Love me.”

A moment passed between them. All Leo could do was stare. Yes, no doubt remained that Argus in any state of undress succeeded to tempt him. He must have just bathed. Even patted dry, stray droplets slipped down the curves of his body. The top of the stockings were rounded by light blue ribbons. The little bows begging to bring his attention to his soft, exposed flesh.

Alright, he didn’t quite understand the genital jewelry, but it was pretty. The chain almost as golden as his hair and the glittering jewels catching the glow of the light in a way that Leo was certain Argus positioned himself to make possible.

Leo licked his lips. Argus remained waiting for him to kiss his hand. He even wiggled his fingers. And Leo could see himself doing just that. He’d get on his knees. Crawl to him. Kiss his hand and move his lips to his wrist. Up his arm, his shoulder, his neck, his cheek, until his mouth found home on Argus’.

But this was Argus. And lounging naked could only be the tip of the iceberg.

He crossed his arms, raising an eyebrow as he stared. “What…what the fuck are you doing?”

Flinching, Argus pouted. He changed position, bending his knee and bringing one hand to trace shapes into his thigh. His other hand propped up his head. “What does it look like I’m doing?”

“I can’t begin to answer that.” Who could? Who but Argus could explain the things that went on in his pretty little head?

“Are you going to come love me?”

“Are you going to tell me what this is about?”

Another moment passed. With a sigh, Argus swung his legs into a sitting position. He snapped his fingers until one of the servants brought him his robe. He stood to receive it, and as he turned to slip the silk over his body Leo cursed. The front of the jewelry made a feeble attempt to cover him but at least it covered something, the back did no such thing. Argus’ ass seemed to mock him proudly as it swayed, and even once the robe concealed his form it was much too transparent to do much.

“Saints.” He shook his head.

“Exactly.” Argus stepped over the crowd of flowers as he walked forward. He wrapped his arms around Leo’s waist and lifted himself on the tips of his toes to kiss his forehead. Argus wasn’t much shorter than him, and by Escana standards might even count as being decently tall, but Argus always seemed to like to make himself smaller. “It would do you some good to invest in a calendar, dear. It’s the First Anniversary. The day St. Yves died for his lover, as I die for you every day we are parted.”

Eyes narrowing, eyebrows scrunching together like his forehead was being squeezed, Leo stared down at Argus. He would like to tell him to shove that bullshit right back up his ass. Not out of malice, just for someone who once set his brother’s poetry collection on fire his words could be as flowery as the perfume the room was doused in.

“And your plan…for this day was to surprise me naked?” Leo placed his hands on top of Argus’. A few of his fingers slipped underneath his shirt. No doubt his next goal was tug him free of his clothes until they were both undressed.

“Well, I also had dinner made. All your favorite things.”

“All of them?” Leo grew up eating Oskyan food and Gegraen food, Abenland and most of the smaller countries in the east ended up being a mixture of both. Although the meals of his youth weren’t as high class, they did include more meat. The other vegetables and sides Argus didn’t mind, but the Escana were never keen on meat, especially not this close to the coast. And Argus himself never wrapped his mind around eating something that bleed when he stuck his fork into it. Leo was sure the smell and look of meat alone turned his stomach, nevermind the taste.

“Yes,” Argus said with a gulp. “All of them.” He planted a kiss on his chin. “And gifts, I got you gifts.”

“Damn, now I feel bad. I ain’t get nothing for you.” Maybe he would have if he knew Argus was going to unroot a garden and shove it into the main room of his chambers without anyone noticing. But then, Leo also supposed he didn’t have the benefit of a surprise. He was Argus’ lover and a former criminal, only even allowed in the palace because Argus would likely throw a fit otherwise. So, he had no money of his own and anything he brought would come up in Argus’ account.

With a yank, Argus pulled him closer. Almost crushing their bodies together as he forced Leo’s hands under the silt in his robe and leaned in to press their noses together.

“You’re all the gift I need.” Spoken with a breathy sigh as Argus closed his eyes, leaving his lips slightly parted once the words left his mouth, and pressing his hands into his back.

He fought to keep the smile from his face, but even so Leo had no choice but to believe him.

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