Hello, I thought I'd put a little warning here before you begin reading. This is my FIRST Xanth story, so I hope things go okay. This is NOT beta'd but is in the process of being so. I wanteda first reaction. Most importantly, THIS IS SLASH. MALE/MALE RELATIONSHIP. GUY ON GUY INSINUATION AND STORY. If this bother's you, I highly suggest you don't read it.
This takes place sometime after everyone has been de-aged, although I've pointedly omited certain things, such as Trent and Iris' second child after they became all lovey dovey and such. So, it's a pick and choose what I want to acknowlege and ignore.
Bink sighed and looked out of his window, not really seeing anything. He was alone again and he didn't like it one bit. His wife, the sometimes beautiful, sometimes average, sometimes ugly, but always wonderful, Chameleon was dead. She was killed by a falling house.
She had been walking to a friend's house when the building fell. Except, it wasn't really a house, rather a housefly that killed Bink's wife. Her friend had been the one to find Chameleon and bring Bink the bad news.
For not the first time, Bink wished his wife had his Talent. If she had, then a housefly wouldn't have squashed her. Bink sighed, feeling overwhelming grief, but not knowing how to express it.
He wasn't truly alone, he supposed. Bink had his family: his son, King Dor and his wife, Irene. Then he had his grand children: Ivy, Ida and Dorn and their spouses. Then, there were his great-grandchildren: the twins Dawn and Eve, and the triplets, Rhythm, Harmony and Melody. He had Chester Centaur, and surprisingly enough—or maybe not so surprisingly—Good Magician Humphrey.
A strong hand landed on his shoulder and Bink let a small smile appear on his lips. Trent, he couldn't forget about Trent. Sometimes, in their very long friendship, he'd felt closer to Trent then he did with Chameleon. They had been through so much together, and right now, he needed his best friends more they he needed his family.
"Why didn't you accept King Dor's offer to remain at Castle Roogna?"
Bink exhaled silently—not a full out sigh, but close—and pushed away from the window; and consequently, away from Trent.
"Castle Roogna isn't home for me," looking around the room he was in, Bink continues, "but this isn't for me anymore either."
And there it was again, the overwhelming sadness that couldn't get out.
"Bink," Trent's voice was gentle. "I understand how you feel, but—"
"No, you still have your wife, Iris." Even before he'd finished that sentence, Bink realized his mistake. Trent's expression closed off and his shoulders tensed. Trent did know how Bink felt, as he had lost his wife from Mundania before becoming King of Xanth and marrying Iris.
"Oh Trent, I'm so sorry. I didn't think."
Trent nodded stiffly, saying, "It's alright, Bink. You're in pain and—"
"That doesn't excuse being hurtful to my friends. You're right, Trent, you can understand how I feel, but…" Bink turned away from Trent, wrapped his arms around himself, and closed his eyes. He had not even been able to cry over Chameleon's death.
"…but I don't need empathy right now, Trent."
Bink head Trent move closer behind him, sensed Trent reach out to touch him, then pull back.
"She was my friend to, Bink. In addition, she was Dor's mother, and she was a grandmother and great-grandmother. You weren't the only one to lose someone you loved."
Grief was gone now, replaced by guilt, and more strongly, by anger. He knew that, he knew how much Chameleon meant to other people. As quickly as it came, the anger left and Bink was left feeling tired.
"I know that, Trent. It's why I cannot stay with Dor. They have their own grief to deal with; I don't need to add mine to it."
Trent made an exasperated sound and turned Bink to face him.
"They're you family; they'd want to help you deal with your grief."
Now Bink looked down, ashamed, not because Trent was right, but because that wasn't the true reason he couldn't go to Castle Roogna.
"Bink, look at me." When he wouldn't, Trent grabbed his chin and forcibly turned Bink's face towards his own. However, Bink closed his eyes. He couldn't look at Trent, not with his real reason for not staying with his son.
A thumb rubbed against his cheek, wiping away a trail of a tear Bink hadn't realized he shed. He looked, reflexively, into Trent's eyes and could not look away.
"Why didn't you really agree to stay with your family?"
Bink found that he couldn't not tell Trent the real reason. He swallowed, licked dry lips, and clenched his fists tight.
"I…it would remind me too much of Chameleon. My child, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; they would remind me too much of her and…"
"And?" Trent softly prompted, still caressing Bink's cheek, though no tears remained.
"And, they all have someone. Dor has your daughter, Irene. Ivy had Grey Murphy, Dorn has Electra. It's something I don't have anymore." Bink brought a hand up and clenched it tightly in the material covering Trent's arm, and looked deeply into his friend's eyes before continuing.
"I can't stand being resentful of my children for still having something I don't. I don't want to look at my son and fell jealous because he has Irene to hold and comfort, who'll hold and comfort him."
Bink looked away when Trent said nothing. He did not want to see condemnation from his best friend for his selfish feelings. He found he did not like the silence, so started talking.
"It makes me feel horrible, like Chameleon would be so disappointed in me; but I can't help it. I know I'm terribly selfish, I know, but—"
Bink looked up at his friend, not sure he had actually heard the other speak.
Trent sighed and drew Bink with him to the window seat, sitting them both down.
"It's not selfish to feel that way. I did, when my wife died. I didn't want to see anything or anyone I associated with her. At about that time, I created an army to conquer Xanth."
Bink smiled softly at the memory of his first meeting with Evil Magician Trent. Who would have thought they would have become best friends?
"Bink, grieve for Chameleon, mourn her loss, remember your past; but don't push your family away. Don't make them suffer losing you too, without you even dying."
Bink nodded and leaned back against the window and closed his eyes.
Bink wanted to say, "But I can't grieve, I don't know how." Instead he replied, "I'll try not to, but I can't stay with Dor at Castle Roogna."
Bink sensed Trent nod, he really did know Trent very well.
"Because it's not home."
Bink nodded, but didn't open his eyes.
"And this isn't home either, right?"
Now Bink opened his eyes, he knew that tone of voice. Trent had an idea.
"Stay with Iris and me."
Bink's eyes widened incredulously before he got up. He didn't want pity, especially not from Trent. Before he could say anything, he saw that look in Trent's eyes. There was not pity there, only concern and love for a friend who was hurting. Bink smiled.
"Iris doesn't really like me, you know."
Trent smirked at Bink and retorted, "She'll manage."
Bink smiled ruefully and retook his seat next to Trent, their shoulders touching.
"I don't wish to impose myself, Trent. I could always go back to North Village."
"Bink." Trent sighed more that spoke the name. "I want you to stay. The last thing you need right now is to be alone. If you aren't going to stay with your family, maybe you'd stay with a friend."
Bink looked up at the odd note in Trent's voice.
"Trent, they're your family too, and you're more than just a friend."
Trent smiled and said, "You still haven't said whether or not you'd stay."
Bink hesitated and looked at the house he had shared with Chameleon. He really couldn't stay here, he'd crack.
"Fine, but you get to tell Iris."
Trent laughed, and Bink found he could do the same.
Iris was very sympathetic to Bink, mothering him and always looking at him with sad eyes. When Trent told her Bink was staying, she became noticeably cooler. Bink started thinking it was a bad idea, but somehow, Trent knew and squashed the idea with a look.
He was shown to a room, thankfully different then the one he and Chameleon usually stayed in when visiting Trent and Iris. Sleep was hard to find that night.
Time moved on, as time invariably does, and Bink found that life without Chameleon was bearable. It still felt like a large chunk of something was missing, but Trent, and even Iris, helped.
He was lying on a soft patch of grass, naked and drying off from a swim. Bink felt at peace as he watched a roc soar through the air, followed by its mate. Bink got up shortly after and looked for his trousers. After finding them, he put them on and turned to face the house, freezing at what he saw. Framed in the window was Trent and Iris, and they were kissing.
Bink felt a pang in his heat at the sight, which was usual whenever he saw a reminder of what he no longer had. Except, this pant felt different. He wasn't saddened at seeing a couple kiss; no, he was saddened that Trent was a member of that kissing couple.
Bink's eyes widened at the realization, then closed at the one fast on its heals. HE wanted to be the one kissing Trent.
"No, no. This can't be happening." Bink's thoughts centered on that. He felt horrified, he couldn't…no. The third realization brought Bink to his knees; locked the breath in his lungs and the world spinning wildly before darkening drastically.
"I'm in love with Trent."
Someone was calling his name and gently shaking him. Bink moaned and slowly opened his eyes, immediately seeing Trent. Bink scrambled up, almost bumping Trent.
He was back in his room and the sky outside was dark. Trent gave him an odd look, but, thankfully, made no move to touch Bink.
"Are you alright, Bink?"
Bink licked his lips and nodded, saying a bit unsteadily, "Yes, I'm fine."
Trent raised a disbelieving eyebrow and crossed his arms. Bink swallowed and closed his eyes. Not opening them, he expanded, "I was out in the sun too long, I suppose. Honestly, it won't happen again."
"Bink, you're a horrible liar, you know that? I can always tell."
That surprised Bink; he had always wondered how Trent could call him on it.
Trent smiled and Bink felt a little weak in the knees. Was this a sudden thing? He'd always acknowledged that Trent was attractive; the man was a veritable genius, and a Magician and former King. However, Bink was also a Magician and former King. He had always gone to Trent though. He would talk to Trent about things he never could with Chameleon; told the man secrets, sought him out in a crowd. He'd always felt a connection with Trent that he'd never felt with anybody else, even Chameleon.
"Bink? Are you okay? You're acting as if you're staring into a gourd."
Bink blinked and shook his head. His answer was stuck in his throat when he saw Iris in the doorway.
"I think I should leave."
"I think it's time I leave." For some reason, Bink couldn't quite meet Trent's eye. He felt bad, he really didn't want to leave, but he really couldn't stay. Not when he was this close to a person he'd known most of his life, but would never be anything more than friends.
Trent hadn't said anything, so Bink chanced a cautious look at the man. His face was an expressionless mask, and Bink couldn't even discern any emotion in Trent's eyes.
I thank you for your hospitality and friendship, but…" Here, Bink took a deep breath to utter one of the few, yet biggest, lies he had ever told. "I need to move on and stand on my own two feet again."
Trent didn't say anything, merely nodded, his face still betraying nothing of what he felt.
"I'll leave tomorrow morning."
Again, Trent nodded and said, "Where will you go?"
Bind was surprised to hear Trent's voice was flat, but answered the question.
"I'll go to Castle Roogna and visit Dor. I should have done that first, but…it hurt. After that though, I'm not sure. I'll land on my feet, I always do." The last was added with a rueful smile.
"If that's what you feel you have to do…" Trent left the rest unsaid.
Bink wanted to cry out and say, "No, I want to say here with you. I never want to leave your side. You make me feel complete in ways Chameleon never did." Instead, he said, "I feel it's time."
Trent nodded, again, and left, saying nothing more. Dinner that evening was quiet and tense. Bink was more than just sad, he felt as if he was about to leave a part of himself behind. However, he couldn't stay and watch Trent with Iris; kiss her, touch her, smile at her…make love to her.
The next morning, Bink left. He didn't take much with him; he didn't truly need to. He only took his clothes and a few other personal items. Any food he would need, he'd find on his journey, as well as sleeping arrangements at rest sights on an enchanted path. His Talent would ensure his safety, as well.
The good-byes were succinct between Bink and Trent. Iris, on the other hand, hugged him closely. Then, Bink left, not turning back to look, even just once more, at Trent.
Bink had been gone for a little over a week, and Trent still deeply felt the absence. He went into the sitting room and sat in his chair. Glancing at the chair across from him, the one he'd come to think of as Bink's, he sighed. Trent wondered when, or even if, the other man would come back.
Iris walked in and Trent could feel her eyes on him. He bit back a sigh, not in the mood to deal with Iris.
"You, Trent, are an idiot."
"Excuse me?" Trent was surprised, not so much by the name—although, he was at that—but at her tone. It was exasperated and slightly condescending.
"You may wish to lie to yourself, but you can't lie to me. I see it, I have seen it."
Trent leveled a Look at his wife, one that said, 'Now is not the time to mess with me, just tell me what you want to tell me or shut up!'
Iris seemed to get the message and huffed, sat down in Bink's chair, and answered, "Remember that night a few weeks ago? The one when you couldn't sleep? I saw you that night."
Trent thought back to the night his wife mentioned. He couldn't sleep and had somehow wandered into Bink's room. The man was sleeping, but fitfully so. Trent saw, from the corner of his eye, the outline of a horse. Of course, Bink was having a nightmare. Buy why? Bink didn't have anything for which to feel guilty.
A small whimper from the man and a frown marring Bink's face spurred Trent to motion.
"Sorry girl, but not tonight." This, spoken to the nightmare, was answered by a soft, ghostly whinny.
Trent reached out a hand and gently laid it on Bink's shoulder. Immediately, the other man quieted and settled, even letting out a soft, contented sound. At the obvious trust Bink felt, even unconsciously, towards Trent, filled the transformer Magician with a warmth that started somewhere in his chest.
Trent looked at his wife, not quite understanding her point.
"How is it you can survive in Mundania, without magic, rule Xanth, be a genius tactician and strategist, befriend Humphrey, save Xanth multiple times, and yet fail to recognize your own feelings in concern to Bink?"
Trent smiled wryly at his wife. "I don't quite understand how my feelings for Bink have any bearing with you calling me an idiot."
Iris through up her hands and huffed in exasperation.
"MEN! How you manage to survive while being so thick, I'll never know. You are in love with Bink, you half-wit. And what's more, he is in love with you. That's why he left!"
Trent sat back and stared at his wife. Very calmly, he replied, "I know I'm in love with Bink. I have been for a great while now. What I would like to know, Iris, is what makes you believe Bink is in love with me?"
If Trent weren't impatient to hear the answer, he would have greatly enjoyed his wife's gob smacked expression.
Haltingly, with much incredulity, Iris answered, "Part women's intuition, part illusion. I knew how he felt about you, but also knew he didn't know of his own feelings. So, to help him recognize them, I gave him a little push."
Trent nodded and clasped his hands together, settling them on his lap. He lifted an eyebrow for his wife to continue.
"I set up an illusion. In it, he would see me kissing you. It apparently worked, as he fainted, then left."
Trent didn't know whether to laugh at his wife's machinations or be upset with her meddling. Instead, he smiled.
"You do know that there is no divorce in Xanth, right? That's part of the magic of marriage."
Iris shrugged, a small smirk playing across her face.
"I know, however, ours was never a love match. You needed a queen and a female to give you an heir. I wanted to be queen and was a sorceress who needed to be controlled. It was a political move, and I had the benefit of having a beautiful daughter and finding a dear friend."
Trent smiled and said, "Careful, darling. You're coming awful close to being sentimental."
Iris glared but continued, "What I'm trying to say is that I wasn't in love with you and you were never in love with me. Therefore, it will not break my heart if you go after Bink. Goodness knows everyone has been waiting for it. Even Chameleon was half expecting you to just whisk that man away."
If Trent was a less worldly and confident man, he was sure he'd be blushing. Was he that obvious?
"And Bink, poor man, was the only person who didn't know how you felt. The little darling still doesn't know your feelings."
Trent sighed and looked at his wife and saw tolerant amusement shining from her eyes.
"So, what should I do now? Bink's left."
Iris stood up and walked to Trent, gently cupping his cheek, a soft smile playing about her lips. "You go after him, you fool."
Had they met under different circumstances, know each other better; had Trent not fallen in love, first in Mundania, then with Bink—he could have truly loved his wife.
Bink was standing in the kitchen to the little cottage he'd grown up in. He had returned to North Village and had been there for nearly a week. He'd settled nicely in his house, eased by the familiarity of his childhood environment.
He sighed. As good as it was to be back; welcomed as if he'd never left, it still wasn't home.
On his trek, Bink had stopped and visited Humphrey, comforted by the man's curmudgeony nature. He'd visited Castle Roogna; laughing, crying and talking with his family. Nevertheless, through it all, he'd felt alone. He missed Trent.
When had he fallen in love with the man? How? He remembered always feeling comforted by Trent, protected by him. He felt grated for his presence in Bink's life. He thought back on how easy it was to laugh and talk with Trent; how, even when Trent was kink, he always had time for Bink. It had, apparently, been a gradual process; realized instantly. It seemed to Bink that the feelings had grown and deepened for years, only truly able to show through with Chameleon's passing.
Bink huffed and looked out the window, not seeing anything the view had to offer. It was so similar to that night that Bink almost expected Trent to walk in and say something.
"You know, Bink, I never took you for a coward, or a liar."
Bink jumped and spun around at the voice, and his eyes widened at who he saw standing in his doorway.
"Trent? What are you doing here?"
The man walked further into the kitchen, his eyes never leaving Bink. Methodically, he removed his traveling cloak and set down his bag, still keeping eye contact.
Finally, he answered, "I've come to get some answers."
Bink blinked, and then swallowed. He fully admitted that he wasn't the smartest or quickest thinking person, but even he could see how intent and determined Trent was. Why couldn't Bink have remained ignorant of his feeling for the other man? His life would have been so much easier, if lonelier.
He looked at Trent and couldn't help but notice just how attractive the man was. His hair was longish and pulled back. It was deep, dark brown—chocolate colored really—and had golden highlights. His eyes were bluer than the sky, his nose straight, and his lips full, lush and red. He looked every bit the king he once was. His shoulders were broad, his waist narrow, legs long, and he stood tall and proud.
When Bink realized he'd been staring, he swallowed again and looked away.
"Answers to what? I don't recall there being any questions. Moreover, if you need answers, shouldn't you go to Humphrey? He is the man who would have all the answers, being the Magician of Information. Although, he would most likely charge you that year's fee. But then again, you are a friend, but still, I'm not sure—"
A large, but gentle, hand covering his mouth stopped short Bink's ramblings. He blinked, not realizing when Trent had moved to stand so close. He looked up at the man, his eyes widening when he saw the soft look on Trent's face.
"I think that maybe you should just listen, Bink."
Bink nodded at Trent, unable to do anything else. This close to the man, he was sure his brain was short-circuiting. He could smell Trent—fresh air, sunshine, and a little hint of strawberries. Bink loved strawberries. Why had he never noticed how wonderful Trent smelled before?
He watched as Trent smiled a little smile, felt him remove his hand, and saw—in great disbelief—as Trent slowly lowered his head, his face coming closer to Bink's. Reflexively, Bink closed his eyes, feeling warm, moist breath caress his face, then his lips. He held his own breath, waiting for whatever came next. Then, a second later—or a lifetime later—Bink felt soft, damp lips touch his own.
The kiss was barely a kiss at first. Trent kept his lips a feathery light touch, and Bink, fast becoming frustrated with the teasing caresses, whined deep in his throat. He felt Trent smile against his lips before deepening the kiss. Hands came up and cradled Bink's face, tilting his head to the side for better access to the kiss.
Bink exhaled into the kiss, and instantly melted into Trent. He hadn't even realized how tense he was until he'd relaxed. Trent kept the kiss chaste, but it didn't lessen its force or potency. As Trent began to back away, Bink finally opened his eyes.
Somehow, his arms had wound their way around Trent's neck, his fingers buried in the other man's hair.
Trent was smiling, his eyes crinkling attractively. One hand left Bink's cheek and traveled down to settle at his waist, while the thumb of his other hand rubbed across Bink's bottom lip. It was then Bink realized something. For the first time since Chameleon, and probably even before that, he felt like he was truly home.
Smiling softly at Trent, he asked, "Did you get the answer to you questions?"
Trent brought leaned down and again and rested his forehead against Bink's and answered, "Yes."
Clio looked at the latest installment in the Xanth chronicles. When she was able to write about true love between two such wonderful people, it made her job as the history muse much more interesting and fulfilling. Oh, she loved writing about adventure and dragons, princesses and frogs, life and death, but it was the love stories she enjoyed chronicling the most.
Clio looked at the future volumes for Xanth's history and smiled a secret smile. Bink and Trent's story was not finished yet. Though they didn't know it yet, they were still waiting for another. She couldn't wait until they met Harry Potter.
Okay, I know I'm doing this backwards, but here it goes.
Disclaimer: Xanth doesn't belong to me, but rather Piers Anthony and whomever else. Don't know who, but I do know I'm not among them.
This is actually a prequal of sorts of a Harry Potter/Xanth X-over I'm working on. I have a rough outline for that done. I just hope people enjoy it.
Alright, I won't take up anymore time. Remember to Drop me a line and let me know what you thought of this story.