Damen was urged onto his feet by his handler. Expecting Laurent to baulk at his uncle’s order, Damen was startled when, after a lingering look at his uncle, Laurent approached, with soft, obedient grace. He hooked a finger in the chain that stretched across Damen’s chest, and drew him forward by it. Damen, feeling the sustained pull at twin points, came as he was bid. With cool detachment, Laurent’s fingers gathered rubies, inclining Damen’s head down far enough to kiss him on the cheek. The kiss was insubstantial: not a single mote of gold paint transferred itself to Laurent’s lips in the process.