Set of drabbles. Because Alfeegi would be as obstinate about being seduced as he is about everything else.
Over time, Ruwalk had perfected seduction into somewhat of an art form. Flirtation came easily for him - an attractive man with a prestigious job, women were falling all over themselves to get close to him. He'd developed a reputation as a lover ("More like a hopeless skirt-chaser," Alfeegi had snorted) and he was proud of it.
However, he'd never tried to seduce a colleague before, especially colleagues that were Alfeegi, the very personification of obstinance, and he suspected it just wasn't going to work quite so easily.
Ruwalk grinned. It had been a while since he'd had a real challenge.
Flowers were always his first step.
Women liked them, Ruwalk reasoned. Alfeegi admittedly wasn't a woman, but that didn't mean he couldn't enjoy beautiful things, right? He didn't have many possessions (he couldn't stand the clutter, he said), but what he did have was high-quality, and this bouquet had been arranged by the finest florist in Dusis.
"What is the meaning of this, Ruwalk?"
"To brighten up your office?" he suggested hopefully.
"They're dropping petals all over my desk," Alfeegi huffed. "I would appreciate it if you removed them and let me get back to work."
"You don't like them?" he tried.
Alfeegi glared. Ruwalk wilted.
It wasn't a well-known fact that Alfeegi had a sweet tooth. Ruwalk had suspected at times that Alfeegi was a little ashamed of it; he did like to portray himself as a man of no vices. Still, Ruwalk had picked up that he had a particular weakness for chocolate, a kind so dark it was almost bitter.
It had been expensive and hard to get hold of. If it didn't sweeten Alfeegi up, nothing would.
Alfeegi eyed the box in Ruwalk's hand suspiciously. "Should I inform Kai-stern you're enroaching on his job?"
"Huh?" Ruwalk frowned.
"Why else would you be trying to bribe me?"
Romantic dinners always worked. Fine food and wine for two, soft candlelight and conversation, perhaps a serenade... it was enough to soften the hardest of hearts, even slightly. Ruwalk had made reservations at the best restaurant in town (Lykouleon had highly recommended it). Now it was just a matter of getting Alfeegi there without giving too much away.
"I can't even consider it; I'm far too busy," Alfeegi said when Ruwalk tentatively broached the subject.
"We both need to eat, why does it matter where?" Ruwalk asked reasonably.
Alfeegi only frowned and went back to his sandwich, still scribbling with the other hand.
People liked to talk about themselves. It was part of their makeup: give them an inch and they'd talk you into oblivion. Alfeegi was no different. He loved an audience to vent all his little grievances on, preferably one that wasn't prone to arguing back (Kai-stern) or sneaking away mid-rant (Kai-stern). What better a way to inveigle himself into Alfeegi's favour than by encouraging him and lending a sympathetic ear?
He just hadn't expected that Alfeegi was going to complain about /him/.
"...that's completely irresponsible of you, Ruwalk, I don't know what you were thinking, but..."
Ruwalk fumed inwardly and bit his lip.
Ruwalk surveyed his handiwork with a self-satisfied smile.
He'd noticed that the mess on Alfeegi's desk had been piling up, leaving Alfeegi cursing as he tried to find a particular form or an unbroken quill. He'd made half-hearted attempts at tidying up, but they were merely stopgap when a fresh load of work arrived every morning. Not only had Ruwalk organized his things, he'd also finished a couple of reports so Alfeegi could begin the day at a neat desk. Bound to put him in a good mood.
"I'm going to kill whoever did this," he heard Alfeegi vow. "Where is it?"
Ruwalk loved him, but he'd be the first one to admit that Alfeegi could be a smug jerk at times. In this case, it was a bonus that flattery could get you everywhere with Alfeegi.
"You work so hard for us all."
"I do," Alfeegi agreed.
"We don't tell you enough how much we appreciate it."
"You certainly don't."
"There's no way the castle could possibly run without you," Ruwalk continued.
"In fact, we take terrible advantage of you and run you off your feet shamelessly," he said, massaging Alfeegi's shoulders, watching his eyes slide shut with a purr.
Alfeegi opened his eyes. "What do you want?"
/Ply him with alcohol/, Kai-stern had suggested.
Indignity of being forced to turn to Kai-stern for help aside, it had seemed like a good idea at the time. If he could get Alfeegi's defenses down -not to take advantage of him, that wasn't what Ruwalk wanted- but to just loosen his inhibitions and his tongue enough to allow him to admit how he really felt...
Ruwalk patted the head resting in his lap a little sulkily. Alfeegi had only had two glasses, and he was out like a light. So much for that idea.
At least he was cute while he was sleeping.
/Absence makes the heart grow fonder/.
It was a somewhat desperate move, but maybe once he wasn't there, Alfeegi would realize how much he missed having Ruwalk around (which, in turn, would hopefully lead to other realizations of the romantic kind).
Ruwalk, with Lykouleon's assistance, engineered a trip out of town to visit family. He was only gone a week.
"I hope you had a nice time," Alfeegi said bitterly when he returned. "While you've been off holidaying, some of us have had to work double shifts to make up your slack."
Ruwalk winced. And he still had a pile to catch up on.
Maybe he'd been approaching it from the wrong angle. He'd been presuming that all his sneaky little techniques would translate just as easily to the other gender, but it seemed to be turning out that wasn't the case. Perhaps what he needed was to put away the pretense and simply be direct.
"I'm in love with you, Alfeegi."
"Hmmm?" Alfeegi said vaguely, hunting under a particularly large tower of paper. "What did you say?"
"I want you," Ruwalk said, getting slightly frustrated.
"To do what?"
Ruwalk could have screamed. Or beaten his head against the wall. What did it take to get through to Alfeegi?
Ruwalk was forced to conclude that Alfeegi just wasn't interested. There was no way anyone could be that dense.
(It only hurt a bit, anyway.)
"So, when you were going to tell me, Ruwalk?"
"I'm not blind, you realize. Trust you to be completely incompetent even in this area."
Ruwalk was still trying to work out what was happening when Alfeegi kissed him.
"Bastard," he floundered breathlessly. "You just wanted to watch me embarrass myself, didn't you?"
Alfeegi smiled, a little feral with a hint of fang, before kissing him again in a way that said he knew lots of other ways to make Ruwalk squirm.