Author's Notes: Um. So. I wrote this for a friend of mine who requested anyone/Reyson, and it came out like teeth- slow, and painful, and with pliars. Okay, maybe not the pliars, but you get the point. Let me know if anything is glaringly terrible and needs fixing?
Sometimes, a day would pass when Reyson didn't think of the forest- when he didn't hear the voices of his brothers and sisters, speaking in a language now dead, or when his mind didn't paint for him the green of the leaves and the gold of the sunlight before fire turned it all to ash. There had been a time when he hadn't imagined that possible, hadn't been able to think beyond the tearing homesickness for a place to which he could no longer return. But months had dragged by into years, and slowly, very slowly, Phoenicis had come to be the place he meant when he used the word "home."
It was not the place he had been born, certainly. His people were not here, nor any of his family save his father. But there was a certain beauty to the hawk nation, a bold and striking splendor when the afternoon light fell on the cliffs and stained them orange with the setting sun. It was a land, he sometimes felt, that was made for its king- for on the ever more frequent occasions when he joined Tibarn atop the outcroppings overlooking the sea, he found himself unable to keep from comparing the view before him to the rugged, handsome face of Phoenicis' strongest hawk. He had hated it here at first- despised it as being someplace where he didn't belong- but with the wind in his hair and the smell of the sea strong in the air, he found that he could tell himself it didn't matter whether it was his place, so long as the man who'd been so kind to him belonged so undeniably.
Very carefully, the heron prince lowered his head and willed his stomach not to empty its contents all over the table before him. It was a lovely piece of furniture, after all, dark wood that looked cut from a single slab, and laid out with dishes that had seen more care than most prepared in Phoenicis. In the hawk nation, after all, presentation was usually left by the wayside in favor of more important things.
"You're not eating," Tibarn observed from the doorway. It was the first indication that he'd been watching at all, and Reyson started at the sound, raising his eyes to the hawk who leaned in the entryway with the casual confidence of one who feared nothing. "Is something the matter?"
I ate three hours ago, Reyson might have said. I ate your favorite foods- raw meat, still bloody, fish glistening with the salt water from the waves. Wild things, things that make you grow strong. I wanted to stand there like you do, hair ruffled by the wind, and smile like there was nothing wrong with the world that I couldn't fix.
But he hadn't grown strong. He'd only gotten sick.
Reyson considered for a long moment and then shook his head. "I'm fine."
He liked the way his voice carried up here in the open air- from the top of the keep, he felt that the goddess herself might hear, if only he sang from the very depths of his heart. And he had come here many times to do just that, to feel the warmth of the sun and let his song be carried away on the breeze. But for today, at least, there was reason enough to quiet himself- particularly when the hawk king's sharp-eared attendant was never terribly far from his sovereign.
Because the sensation of Tibarn's mouth working its way down the column of his throat was still a new one - a pleasantly new one, and his first inclination had been to approve of it quite vocally indeed. On second thought, however, the heron prince had considered that this probably was not the best of ideas, and so he had settled for tipping his head back instead, to offer better access to lips and teeth and tongue. Almost of its own accord, one pale hand moved to rest in the dark nest of Tibarn's hair, the other on sleek, brown wings. If he held his breath and stayed very still, he could feel the pulse of the hawk king's heart, strong and vital, beneath his fingertips.
Reyson smiled, and he did not close his eyes; that would have blotted from view the tiny wisps of cloud traced across a sky the royal blue of summer.