July 9, 2008

It was past midnight, but Alfred was jet-lagged and awake and bored. Instead of being safe and staying in Arthur's aunt's house and reading or something, he decided to explore.

An hour later, he had wandered into the Oxford campus itself, having seen barely anyone so far and comfortable in the silence of the night.

He stopped dead, however, at the sight that greeted him in the middle of the green just inside the open gate to the university.

A giant telescope was set up there – at least six feet long – pointed up at the sky, manned by one guy with shaggy dark hair, sitting on the wet grass and writing between looks into the eyepiece.

Intrigued, Al walked up to him slowly, like approaching a wild animal. He didn't look at Al, or even physically acknowledge his presence, but he said quietly, "You're welcome to sit with me and look if you'd like."

Al jumped. "Uh. Okay?" He sat down cross-legged on the other side of the telescope, gazing up at the stars with his naked eyes. The other man scooted over on the grass and patted a spot between him and the eyepiece.

"Here, it's better this way." Al crawled over the indicated spot and tentatively looked through the telescope, careful not to move it. He gasped a little at the clarity of the lens – even back in California, he'd never found such a well-tended instrument.

"It's Pluto." He looked over at the man, who smiled slightly. "He's bright tonight. I wanted to try and see his face." He sighed. "Sadly, he's a little too far away to do that."

Al snorted. "Thirty AUs isn't exactly what I'd call 'a little'." He went back to looking, and imagined he could make out the ice on the planet's surface.

"You know about stars." He seemed mildly surprised. Al shrugged and grinned sheepishly.

"What can I say? They're really cool." The man's slight smile grew a little.

"It's nice to meet someone else with that thought." He stood slowly, and he was taller than Al had thought he was bent up on the ground like that. "Would you like to see Scorpio?"

"Would I!" The man smiled and went to move his telescope a few degrees in the night sky.

It was only when dawn came and they went their separate ways – since it was high summer in England and dawn came early – that Al realized that even though he'd never asked the man's name, nor vice versa, he suddenly wanted to fill the rest of his life with stars.

{A/N: Yeah, this is the sequel to 'The Baffled King And The Idiot Hero'. I'll put up these little prose interludes in their own chapters, but the blog updates will be in a chapter by month. The link to the actual blog is on my profile, if you want it.

Yes, mystery man is Greece.

SEPTEMBER 5, 2011 EDIT: So uh. I actually killed the blog form of this sequel. There are two chapters of lackluster blog updates I couldn't quite bring myself to delete, but the majority of this sequel is in my almost-trademarked snippets of scenes. Personally, I believe it's for the best, but I figured you deserved fair warning.}