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[South East] Square Hammer

Ciceron had been somewhat anxious at the sheer mention of doing this, and it had only grown further as they neared the vampire's living quarters. It wasn't something he thought about until very recently. After his time alone at the beach, and once the self-loathing had passed, he had simply imagined every method of a torturous death for Hunter. From decapitation, to burnt alive, to a simple silver stake, and even to some of Hunter's own torture devices. The brass bull was a good option. The rack was also something amusing - the slow ones were always the way to go with this.

However, it was soon brought to his attention how vitally important Hunter was to the Ivers. Sure, it wasn't so significant as Ivan, but Hunter was similar in a lot of ways. They both had their advantages and uses, the only real difference was that Ivan was a trained hound, and Hunter was a diseased cur. It was certainly a difficult situation. But when push came to shove, death was off the table.

Of course, what he really wanted on the table was a thousand apology letters from Danica. The thought of that creature violating his wife soured his blood; it felt like a struggle just to breathe. But as Nathan had advised, he had to stop thinking about it right now. The main focus was the damned vampire and showing him that he was a force to be reckoned with. Sure, Hunter hadn't known that Danica was Ciceron's wife, but now he had to deal with the consequences regardless.

He now stood outside the door of Hunter's room, his fingers twitching almost nervously. Or was it more fidgeting out of restlessness? Either way, Ciceron took a long breath in an attempt of calming himself. He glanced at Nathan beside him.

"After what you did, did you ever truly learn your lesson? Or is it just a case of escaping the wrath this time?" He asked bluntly. "What I mean there a point in me doing this if Danica doesn't fully understand the weight of her actions? Or am I just enacting mindless judgement as a result of my feelings when my marriage is doomed regardless?"

Played By: Vyreia
Nathan was silent a moment, simply starring back at Ciceron, but finally he said,

“A marriage is rarely doomed unless you chose it to be so. A marriage is a commitment to stay together and work through issues, not to be perfect. If it was then there would be no marriages that worked. Look at Egan and Hera. Weak! The both of them. As far as I know there was not even any infidelity, yet their house of card collapsed in a few breezes. Are you so weak as all that Ciceron? Take revenge if you must. Let her feel you anger forever if you must. But don’t let a silly woman ruin your dreams. She is merely a tool in the grand scheme of things and the sooner you see that the better.”

Looking off down the hall, as though seeing her there, Nathan said, “I almost envy you and your position. Astrid is not the easiest woman to be in love with. Be glad Danica gave you a reason to never love her.”

Looking back at Ciceron then he said, “Did I learn my lesson? Are you asking if I would ever touch Viola should she throw herself naked into my arms? Are you asking if I will never toy with her feelings for me again?”

Nathan pursed his lips and looked up. That was a good question. But finally he said, “I will always take pleasure in her stifled feelings for me. But in the end she is more important to me as a tool than a play thing and I will loose her as a tool if I continue to play with her. That was made clear. Even now I fear for her safety. So yes. I have learned. But more than that Astrid is... actually an incredibly wise, resourceful woman. Very... creative in showing her wrath, and finding ways to punish those who displease her. The weeks after the incident she made life living hell... and then she some how managed to...” Nathan looked as though he were searching for the right words a moment before saying, “come up with a final solution... a sort of test... that allowed me to make up with her. It was a blend of both punishment... and surprising pleasure for myself. She understands my guilty pleasures, my joys, the games I am addicted to playing with the emotions of pretty things. Suffice to say I don’t need Viola. I have an outlet. But it’s not in the way you think. It is a mutual project of ours.”

But he thought he had better end it there. He did not think Ciceron wanted to hear of details involving his own sister... who he had unnatural feelings for in the past.

Placing his hand on the door, Nathan looked at Ciceron and said, “I do not intend to leave you feeling unsatisfied where your wife is concerned. But I want you to face the future calmly, rationally, and with cold calculation. The first step is making sure in the back of your mind you are not feeling some vampire is sneering down his nose at you and feeling he enjoys my protection. When I give you this power over him he will know that in fact... you can easily slip in here any time and kill him if you feel he deserves it, or torture him for that matter, or even give him orders. He will know my protection of him is simply hanging on how loyal you feel like being towards my wishes. If he is smart... he will not even raise his eyes to Danica should he see her, knowing how her husband would disapprove. Trust me... it is the knowlege, more than any action you could take, that will get to him. Death is too permanent."

Raising a brow at ciceron then he said, "Were your questions answered sufficiently? If you have more please feel free to ask further."
Ciceron remained quiet as Nathan spoke, aside from the occasional hum or grunt of agreement and understanding. Nathan did always know how to expand on certain topics, and although Ciceron hadn't really expected or wanted such an extensive answer, he was thankful for it all the same. It gave a lot of insight to consider. Perhaps things would never be right with Danica again, but Nathan was right regardless. He had to be cold and calculating about this, no matter what. If he wasn't, then he would easily begin to appear as weak, to both the public eye and Danica herself. He had to remain composed despite the feelings inside.

It was one of those ideologies attached to being married in the Iver family. It was also a typically British standpoint; stiff upper lip and all that. It wasn't something he was specifically told to embrace growing up, but now that he thought about it, the York family had never really followed the rules of old money despite trying to be recognised as such.

Ciceron looked to the door, pursing his lips as he thought further.

"Yes...I understand." He rubbed the back of his neck, shaking his head. "It's a real shame, you know, Nathan. A severe shame.From an outside perspective, it may seem as though I am only upset about her cheating on me so promptly in the marriage. Which of course, I am livid. I genuinely thought I could love and cherish this woman and have a real life with her. And I will still live out my life with her, but it will always be tainted, even if I attempt to move on. There will always be something soured about this relationship."

"But I suppose the most gutting part of all of the fact that I was so excited to be a part of the Iver family. To be connected to you as a partner and in-law, which sounds ridiculous now that I say it - and really, I'm simply not drunk enough to be saying it. But by marrying Danica, it felt like I had finally proven myself as someone worthy to you. It felt like a permanent symbol of our partnership - that you would trust me to such a level to be bound by blood. I think what I am trying to say furious and vehemently angry as I am about Danica's tryst, I think I am more so enraged by the fact she could have altered the entire Iver perspective of me."

"I am...perhaps concerned that you think less of me for what's happened..."

He cleared his throat, looking away, somewhat wishing he had not divulged that information.

Played By: Vyreia
Nathan looked at him closely, a curious expression coming to his face. Slowly his hand slipped from the handle. He looked at the other man for a long moment in silence before saying,

“Less of you for needing a break from all the stress I had put on you? Or less of you for not having the ability to keep your Iver wife faithful to you?”

The distinction was rather important...
Under far more sober circumstances Nathan likely would have replied that Ciceron had nothing to be concerned about and moved on... but has he had been drinking that evening, even as they walked, he instead leaned back against the wall behind him, shoved his hands into his pockets, and after looking Ciceron over a moment more said,

“My good man... don’t you even realise?... I have had rather a similar concern myself. And I have far more reason for this than you. You know of my own marital troubles and how annoyingly close to home they strike. Even Astrid was quick to point out to my cousin and I that apparently Ivers in general have troubles with loyalty. This entire episode is embarrassing to me because I am sure you have had the same thoughts.. only you are either too polite or know your place well enough not to make such snide remarks.”

Why was he saying so much?

Perhaps pulling out the bottles with the highest alcohol content hadn’t been the best idea...

“You stood my me, giving me advice on how to win my wife back... Which was spot on by the way, as it turned out... But now my cousin, a woman you married to help foward my plans... has done the same to you. I assume you asked a moment ago if I had learned my lesson as a way to gain insight on my cousin, since we are so alike.”

Nathan shook his head, then said, “No... I don’t think less of you. I just pray you don’t think less of me or my family name, or my plans for you that seem bent on driving you into madness.”
Ciceron furrowed his brows a little at Nathan's response. He's thought very fleetingly if he thought less of Nathan, but didn't delve much deeper into it under the impression that he didn't really have a right to be disappointed.But Nathan was concerned about it? Ciceron cleared his throat, glancing away for few seconds before looking back at the other man.

"I don't think less of you. Yes, you're both Ivers and are similar in ways...but you're not the same people. You did it as part of a game. She did it out of weakness.Different circumstances and different people...if I had concerns about you, I would say as much. It's a shame that things couldn't have started out better for this."

Ciceron shook his head.

"I think...what makes me worried is from something Danica said. About how she wasn't surprised Marzia cheated on me. It sort just...hit me that I'm the common denominator here. And yes, I completely understand that this marriage is different and mainly business based it so wrong to just be wanted as a romantic partner? I know you and Astrid had problems but that doesn't mean I don't somewhat envy what you have. It's rare for a marriage arrangement like that to also be fuelled by mutual love..."

Played By: Vyreia
Nathan looked back at Ciceron in surprise, then said, “Good god man, yes it is wrong! What have I been saying all these years! Love is a weakness. Look at your current position! Imagine how you would feel if you really, truly, deeply loved her? Do you think I want to love Astrid asI do? No... trust me. And these are no idle words. “

Pushing off of the wall and walking a few paces, Nathan said, “I got down on my bloody knees for the woman Ron. I would prefer a fist to the gut rather than do that again for anyone.”

Nathan scratched his head a moment, then turning back toCiceron he said, “You like Danica far more than you have ever let on to her, don’t you?”

Looking a bit closer at him then he said, “You dont... love her... do you?”

He actually had a look of concern on his face for his friend.
"What!? No! Merlin, no, never. I...of course not." But even as he said the words, he was looking away, biting the inside of his lip. "Well I....I certainly liked her. More than she knew, or ever needs to know. Definitely not love. I felt as though I could in many, many years. But nothing so sudden...absolutely not."

He swallowed thickly, and then glanced back to Nathan.

"Say if...say if I did...hypothetically, what would you suggest I do?"

Played By: Vyreia
Nathan looked at Ciceron in surprise, then bringing his hand to his forehead he groaned, then said, "I would suggest you never let her know. Once woman knows she has that sort of power over you... that is truly dangerous territory."

Lowering his hand and looking at Ciceron he said, "People like to joke about thebattle of the sexes, but it is no joke. It is very real. And you need to win this particular battle for your own sanity. There is one thing I have learned in my vast experience and that is this... ranting and raving will never get you any where. It feels good for a moment, but if you lose yourself then you haven't really won anything now have you? Who do you want to emulate in this life? People like Dice, or Egan, that let their emotions in the moment rule them? Or people like myself, or Astrid?"

The question was rhetorical.

"Take a page from Astrid's book," he said firmly. "Approach with dignity and cunning. You want Danica to feel pain? Anguish? Suffer even half as much as you did?" Nathan smiled slyly, then said, "I am going to give you ideas. You can take them verbatim, or modify as you like. But... if you make yourself an impossible monster to deal with she will only run away, or cheat on you again. She will make you even more miserable. Instead...I suggest you make her want you. Make her feel that what she wants is just byond her grasp... and that she may never get it. Untill she is driven half mad trying to figure out how to make it up to you. How to make you love her...."
Ciceron thought for a moment, trying to picture it in his head. What would it even feel like to have Danica pine for him? Likely good. He'd been the hunter in the majority of the relationship, so perhaps suddenly going somewhat cold would make her realise how much she would miss that type of affection. Yeah, that did sound appealing, actually.

But how? He knew he could ask Nathan what to do here, but in reality...he knew he needed to do it from a genuine place. Maybe ask for opinions or assistance here and there, but his terms and ideas needed to be manifested in his own mind and actions in order for them to be legitimate. He never wanted to be a puppet, especially in this.

"Then...I suppose I ought to buy some new suits. Perhaps a haircut...that would be a good start to a rebirth, I presume. I believe the La Fratta Midsummer party is on its way...I should be well on the way to full recovery by that point. I'll have to make an effort of dancing with her publicly just so she's away of what's expected now. But before that..." He ran his hand through his hair. "I'll do something typically romantic with her to drive it home. A dinner...or a trip...something that will somewhat unnerve her but she would be too unsure as whether to oppose it or not."

He glanced at Nathan, silently asking for his opinion despite before thinking how he had to do it himself. Well...he supposed a little input would be helpful.

Played By: Vyreia
"Exactly," said Nathan. "You have got the idea. And further... think on this. Don't let her know about your little... issue. Let her think you are staying away from her bed because of other reasons. Your troubles will make this next part even easier, because you won't be tempted to give in."

Nathan smirked, then said, "Now and then let her catch you seeming to... almost lose yourself for a moment... but the memories of what she has done are just too much. Picture this... Picture it from her point of view."

Nathan stepped up quite close to Ciceron, then said, "One night the two of you are drinking, up late. She is looking beautiful, you of course dashing. You start talking, getting closer, suddenly you are kissing, touching, breathing hard and..." Nathan held up a finger, then said, "You draw back," he said, stepping back a step from Ciceron, "Look away, shake your head and leave.... Imagine how that will kill her. Seeing how torn you are inside. Wanting you to get past it... knowing she is the reason you can't... as drawn to her as you are.."
As Nathan stepped closer, Ciceron recoiled a little, taken off guard by the proximity of the other man. It was weird how they were suddenly so trusting of each other - hell, they'd even spoken about things they really shouldn't whilst both incredibly drunk. Oh, Merlin, he'd even admitted to being willing to do unthinkable things if Nathan ordered it.

Why was he even thinking about that now!? Far too much alcohol in the brain.

"Right, yes, well...that's definitely a good tactic. Perhaps my problem will come in handy for this."He cleared his throat before straightening his jacket, trying to distract from whatever was going on with his thoughts. "I'm sure she will suffer greatly through that. Of course, that doesn't mean I should stop attempting to fix the problem...children are a number one priority to me and I don't want to be waiting too long. You understand this. I presume you and Astrid will be trying for a second at some point?"

Played By: Vyreia
"Yes, at some point," said Nathan rather dryly. but then added, "Let's put it this way... If you don't hurry up about it you could easily find yourself two behind us."

He then added, "I think your issue might be psychological. I would bet money on it. Stress, depression, experimentation with a sketchy drug, feeling of inadequacy… We can always experiment with a few potions for you but.. if it is mostly psychological they aren't going to help much... or not for long."

Nathan pursed his lips, then said "Have you tried... sleeping with someone else? Just to see..."
Ciceron's eyes widened, and he shook his head.

"No! Absolutely not. I'm not interested in any of that...and-and besides, wouldn't that just give her some leverage over me? She would think we're even if she ever found out. No. If it's psychological, we will work on it. Or I will. If would want to help, I would appreciate it. But no...nothing like that."

Played By: Vyreia