Disclaimer: "The Borgias" is owned by SHOWTIME. I own nothing.
Thunder was roaring outside the Vatican, and Cesare Borgia lay wide awake in his bed. He was thinking of thunderstorm nights in his childhood, little Lucrezia coming and cuddling up next to him, telling him how afraid she was of the lightning bolts, that looked like hands wanting to grab her.
"Don't be afraid, sweet sister", he would reassure her, "I will hold you and not a thousand lightning bolts will take you away from me."
She would sigh, pleased with that answer, and fall asleep in his arms. Yes, those were the times he was able to protect her, the times were she relied on his protection… But those days were long past. Lucrezia was a woman now, beautiful, strong and very well able to protect herself. He knew that. Still, Cesare mourned the innocent girl she used to be. He wanted to hold her again, protect her from the thunderstorm.
Just when he finished that thought, lightning lit up the room and highlighted a figure in a white nightdress, with golden locks cascading down its back.
"Lucrezia." He whispered. "Have you come to me so I would protect you from the storm?"
Her lips curved up in a warm smile, and Cesare was almost sure she was thinking of their childhood too. She sat on the edge of his bed.
"No, brother. But I'm having trouble putting little Giovanni to sleep. I wondered if you would help me."
Cesare nodded and smiled. "Of course I will."
Lucrezia got up and pulled him with her. She intertwined their fingers, and hand in hand they walked along the corridors. As the siblings got closer to Lucrezia's chamber, Cesare could make out the cries of a wailing child. His sister frowned unhappily.
"No matter what I've tried, I just can't quieten him." Cesare smiled at her. "Maybe I'll have better luck."
They entered the chamber and closed the door behind them. Lucrezia walked over to her son's cradle and lifted the boy up; his face was red and tear-stained. She peppered her baby's face with light kisses.
"Hush, little one, hush. The storm will be over soon. There's no reason for you to cry, hear that?" She spoke in a soft tone, but the child didn't stop crying. With a helpless sigh, Lucrezia handed him over to Cesare.
Her brother held the baby tenderly, stroking his little head, even giving him a little kiss on the forehead.
"Now, now. Is that a way for a future duke to behave, huh? Crying because of a little thunder and some lightning?" Giovanni miraculously stopped his wailing and looked up to his godfather with big, innocent eyes.
Cesare cradled him. "One day, you will be tall and strong, and then the lightning will be afraid of you. Just wait and see." He said with a smile.
Lucrezia watched the scene proudly but with a heavy heart; her brother spoke to her son like a father should. But this child has no father, she thought with remorse. Poor Paolo was dead, murdered 'for the good of her family'. He would not see his son grow; he would not teach him sword fighting or horseback riding. He was gone forever…
Her dark thoughts were interrupted when Cesare quietly said: "I think he's sleeping."
When Lucrezia looked up into her brother's eyes, they were full of worry. She took her child from him, kissed the boy on his cheek and put him back in the cradle.
For a moment, there was silence between the siblings and neither of them moved. Eventually, Cesare reluctantly turned towards the door. "I should let you rest now. Goodnight, sister."
Lucrezia, who had already propped herself on her bed, reached her hand out to him. "No, Cesare, please stay. I don't want to sleep alone. Stay with me." She pleaded.
Very slowly, her brother turned around to face her. His eyebrows raised up in question.
"The people would talk if they knew."
"Let them. I need you."
Cesare needed no more words. In a heartbeat, he climbed under the covers. He gave his sister a quick peck on the nose. "I need you, too."
She curled up into him, and that's when he felt true happiness again. Lucrezia laid her head on his chest, and, there in the dark, their fingers intertwined again. Soon, Cesare felt his sister's body relax and she drifted off to sleep. The thunder still roared outside.
He kissed her forehead before closing his eyes and welcoming the dreams.