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"Oh god," he mewls, "please kill me."

Chiaro looks at him with amusement. "I didn't know you were this whiny."

Cesare grunts. "Shut up and get me out of this."

"Where's your squire, anyway?"

"Gone to Hell. I don't know. God's blood, what is this, are you going to help me or am I condemned to melt?" Cesare plunks onto a bench and wriggles out of the pluviale. Hat and mozzetta follow, then his gloves and the pleated alba. It all lands in a heap of red, plus the shoes, kicked on top. Only his crucifix is handled with a little more care, but if he sets it aside with both hands, then not so much out of reverence but because gold will scratch and dent.

He watches as Chiaro picks his discarded clothes off the floor - folding each item, putting them aside - and he finds he envies his robes: they, at least, get to feel Chiaro's touch.

"Well, it's lighter than armour," Chiaro says.

"If that was an attempt at cheering me up," Cesare grumbles, "I'll have you know it failed." He slumps in a sulk, trickles of sweat in the back of his neck. "You wear them," he says. The thought seems to rouse him. "Come on, if you like them so much."

"Cesare, that's... " Chiaro blushes. "I can't wear a cardinal's robes. That's unheard of."

And then there's a scuffle, and a yelp, and ten minutes later Cesare's hose feels too tight. "You look... nice," he says, tugging down the hem of his camacia. "Very nice." His face is as red as the porpora Chiaro flicks into a swirl. "How about we swap? I get your armour, and you get my robes. You can be cardinal, and I get to be the warrior."

Chiaro seems to ponder this. "Nah," he laughs. "Your stuff is too heavy."

Cesare smoulders and crosses his legs. "That's what I said." But wear it for a while, he wants to add – wear it, so it will carry your smell, and I'll be able to bear my cross that little bit longer.