As I said in the summery, this has some major SPOILERS for my Life series. This is a Life Cycle future fic! Which means it takes place years after Life Crusades ends and deals with the offspring of our fave characters. Well mainly just two. Don't say I didn't warn you. SPOILERS! Also, the main pairing is not Draco/Harry, though they are in here and still as obsessive about each other as always. Slash, as usual :D
The Ukatae realm had been in a cloud of peace for the last seven years, the population nearly doubled since the end of the war, and the citizens of the realm thrived under the rule of their Emperors, Harry and Draco. And as for the Royal Family, they also thrived; growing by leaps and bounds. The palace was never empty of the large extended family, even when a faction of them remained in the human world half the time, with frequent visits to the realm. It was safe to say there were more children now then there were adults among the Royal family.
Harry and Draco had two of those. Two boys. Caellum and Scorpius- yes, Draco stole the name right out from under his father's nose. Lucius had not been amused and refused to see or talk to Draco or Harry for three months. The Emperors had two sons so far and no daughters and Harry was seriously hoping for a daughter the next time they conceived. Everyone was already guessing when that would be. Draco was getting that twitch in his eye again and Harry was starting to sigh wistfully. Everyone was betting the Emperors would have an announcement by the end of January.
But this story is not about all the children. No, this story is about the two boys who have had a bond since before one of them was even born. Caellum and Zohrek. You saw this coming, didn't you? Of course you did. Even Harry saw it- without a premonition- and we all know how oblivious he can be sometimes. But I digress. Caellum and Zohrek. They were considered teens now and they were still best friends. No one thought anything could ever come between them. They put each other before anyone else, sometimes even before their parents and siblings. There was no topic that was out of bounds for the two. They knew everything about each other.
Or at least that's what Caellum had thought. But the prince had been noticing lately that Zohrek seemed to close himself off at the oddest times and his white brows would draw together as if he were agitated by something. Every time Caellum asked, Zohrek would always shrug it off, change the subject, or leave. It was starting to bother Caellum.
"Do you think we actually will live forever?" Caellum asked one day.
He and Zohrek were resting after an extremely hard training session within the palace arena. Zohrek was sitting with his legs spread out in front of him and his arms behind him, holding his torso up. Caellum was lying on his back with his head in his best friend's lap and staring up at Zohrek's face.
Zohrek dropped a hand to his friend's head, absently playing with a few strands of inky blackness. "Of course, Caellum. We are immortal and our strength will see us through time."
Caellum smiled. "You always talk like you're centuries old already. We're only eight." Zohrek flushed lightly and the prince smiled. "Not that I think that's a bad thing. I like the way you talk."
They were only eight years old, yes, but in human standards, they could easily pass for fourteen. And Caellum certainly would soon when his parents finally sent him for a few years to Hogwarts to learn under his great uncle Severus and the other professors there. In fact Caellum was going to end up in the same year as Michael.
Caellum huffed. "Why can't you come with me?"
Zohrek instantly knew what he was talking about and he frowned. "For one, Father will not allow it. Secondly, why do I need to come with you?"
The prince matched his frown and sat up. "Wouldn't you like to stay with me?"
Zohrek made a little huffing growling sound. "Caellum, I am not your…" he paused and looked away. Caellum could see his jaw clench and unclench. "Never mind."
"No." Caellum scooted forward on his knees, staring intently at his friend with wide gold eyes. He reached out, laying a hand on Zohrek's chest. "You've begun this exact conversation at least three times the last two weeks. In fact ever since you joined the Junior Legions you've been acting strangely. What is it, Zohrek?"
Zohrek jumped to his feet in one fluid motion. "Never mind, little prince."
Caellum scowled. "Don't call me that!"
Zohrek smirked. "I must go. You know I have lessons soon."
The prince sighed and nodded. He had his own lessons to go to with his father so he couldn't spend time trying to get Zohrek to talk. Caellum pouted then. These particular lessons were always so boring. All he did was watch his father go over realm reports and meet with Governors. He would much prefer to spend his time with Ozemir; with books and scrolls. Or go with his mama to visit all the troops posted around the realm. Affairs of State were boring.
It was some hours later and Zohrek stood in one of the public courtyards with a group of his peers when Caellum found him again. The first born prince rushed out onto the bridge that led from the palace. From there the bridge let to stairs down into the open courtyard.
"Look at that. He's doing it again."
"It's true, Zohrek! He treats you like a simpleton, like a servant. A plaything. You're the Second's son, for Hirsha's sake!"
"He's my best friend," Zohrek replied softly, staring at the ground. "He has the upmost respect for me…"
Raegan grinned in triumph upon hearing Zohrek's uncertainty. "He's always calling you to him. As if you have no life. As if you live to serve him."
"Stop it, Raegan," another elf standing beside Zohrek said. "Prince Caellum isn't like that. They've been friends since birth. And we all live to serve our Royals."
"Look," Raegan said, sneering. "Even now he waits for you at the bottom of the stairs. He's waiting for you to go to him. As you usually do. Go on then, lowly attendant. Serve our dear little prince."
Zohrek growled lowly, making the two he was with back up slightly in real fear. Zohrek was, as they had mentioned, first born son of Brumek.
"Zohrek! Quick! I have news!"
The junior warrior sighed and turned, and just as Raegan said, Caellum was waiting for him at the foot of the stairs, holding a letter in his hands. Zohrek felt anger and frustration, and above all, a sinking suspicion that his comrades might be right. Raegan wasn't the only one who thought as much. There were others within the Junior Legion who said much the same thing. Maybe Caellum did see him as a convenient lackey. Some of his behavior would suggest so. With these thoughts Zohrek stormed over and by the time he was in front of a brightly smiling Caellum, the junior warrior was seething.
"What?" he snarled, effectively wiping Caellum's smile away. Caellum even took a step back. "What do you want, Highness? Did you not see I was busy? Or do you not care about such things as letting people have any kind of life that doesn't revolve around you? Are you just that spoiled, or do you actually see me as some lowly servant? WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
Caellum's eyes were blown wide by the time Zohrek was done shouting; staring at him in part horror, part confusion, and most of all, hurt. "I…" Caellum's mouth snapped shut and he began backing away, shaking. "N-never mind," he whispered, clutching the letter against his chest. He then spun around and ran back up the stairs. Dawning horror gripped Zohrek as he watched his friend flee, and he was very aware that he'd just made a very horrible mistake.
The prince didn't stop and continued to run until he disappeared into the palace. Zohrek would have followed him, but he heard the laughter from one of the young warriors he'd been talking to earlier. The one that had started the teasing in the first place. Raegan. Why did he let himself be led by that idiot's teasing? Probably because it had been happening since they'd been put in the same company.
Zohrek spun back around and stomped back to the group. The warrior who had tried to stand up for Caellum was shaking his head, looking worried and angry.
"How could you do that? Not only did you blatantly disrespect the Crown Prince, but you did it when you know well none of it is true."
"Oh lighten up, Macer! The little prince had it coming. Didn't he, Zohrek? He's nothing but a spoiled pampered brat with no good uses at all! The only use he'll have in the future is being a royal mare, breeding out more Royalty."
"You," Macer seethed, "are nothing but a jealous bastard! Do not talk of our prince in such a way! You do not know him! Zohrek, tell him!"
Zohrek didn't verbally answer. Instead, he unsheathed his practice sword- specially made for him by Uncle Aerin- and using all of his considerable strength even at that age, smashed the metal handle against Raegan's temple with a furious expression. He then watched dispassionately as Raegan fell to the ground without a hint of guilt or remorse on his face.
"What have you done?" Macer whispered, staring down at the unconscious body at their feet.
"What he deserved," Zohrek answered flatly. A small pool of blood started to form around Raegan's dented head. Zohrek didn't care. Raegan should never have teased him so. He should never have spoken against Caellum in such a way. Zohrek had that liberty, in private, because they were friends, but he would not allow some maggot of a junior warrior to speak about Caellum like that. Consequences be damned.
Zohrek winced when he heard the front door of his home bang open. Knowing perfectly well it was his mother. He then jumped when only a second later, his mother appeared right beside him. Standing there over him, arms crossed over his chest, mouth thin and violet eyes blazing with furious disappointment.
"Mother," he greeted. Hopefully if he acted innocent… but Uncle Draco would have known something was wrong with Caellum and would have looked into his son's mind. Caellum wouldn't have told him. Zohrek knew him that well. And if Uncle Draco had seen in Caellum's mind, the blond Emperor would have told Zohrek's mother. Which meant his innocent act would do no good.
"Stand up, young one," Ozemir ordered.
"Has Father returned yet?" he questioned as he stood. Of course he knew better. If Father were home, he would have already heard it. Zohrek was dreading his Father's return.
"Zohrek, perhaps you would like to tell me why Caellum asked to leave five days early. Why he begged his mother with tears nearly falling down his cute little cheeks."
Zohrek closed his eyes in pain at the thought, and then they popped open again. "What do you mean? Leave where?"
"He received word this afternoon from Zynfrae. My old mentor has agreed to take on Caellum as a student for a year before he goes to the human world. He was supposed to meet Zynfrae at the Citadel next week to start his Scholarly training… you know how excited he's been with the idea of being able to learn under Zynfrae."
Zohrek nodded. Caellum had talked of little else for the past half year. "That's why he was so excited…"
Ozemir's hard expression softened into pure disappointment. Zohrek knew his mother loved Caellum just as much as he loved his own two children. "How could you say those things to him, my son? How could you when you know it isn't true? Caellum loves you! You've known each other since before you were even born! Never would he put you into the category of a subject. Have you any idea what you've done? He puts you before even Scorpius!"
"I know!" Zohrek exclaimed, losing all sense of formality and devolving into the young boy he really was. "I know, I was just—but I didn't mean it, Mother! I didn't! And when I tried to tell him, he ran and then when I went looking for him, I couldn't find him anywhere. I couldn't find him to apologize."
Ozemir's disappointment diminished, but he still looked sad as he took his son's cheeks into his hands and bent down just a fraction to press their foreheads together. "You may not have meant it, but you have hurt him terribly, Zohrek. And I'm afraid… I'm afraid it's going to be a very long time before you ever see him again. Years. You won't see him until he returns to complete his Academy schooling. He will not be returning to realm until he is done with Hogwarts. Perhaps even a few years after that."
Zohrek didn't have any time to properly digest that horrific announcement- not see Caellum for years?- when a bellow shook everything within their home.
Both Ozemir and Zohrek winced. "Oh yes," Ozemir went on softly, running a hand through his son's spiky white hair, reminiscent of Richard's rebel days. "And not only did you truly hurt your friend, but you also disrespected a Royal in the middle of a public area and also killed a fellow warrior outside of a duel. You will be punished, Zohrek, and I can do nothing for you. You've brought shame to your father."
Zohrek nodded, tears stinging his eyes. "I-I did not mean to hurt Caellum."
Brumek appeared in the doorway, glowering at his son. "Zohrek. Say goodbye to your mother. You will not see him for two years."
"Two-" Ozemir gasped and wound arms around his son. "Brumek, no!"
Brumek avoided looking at his mate and instead stared at his son. "This must be done, Ozemir. Zohrek has broken several codes. His punishment will be a hard one."
"But two years!"
"The junior warrior died from his head injury."
"I don't care! He probably deserved it! He should have known better than to anger the Second's son! You cannot take Zohrek away from me! Brumek, please!"
"This must be done, Ozemir! Do you think I want this to happen?"
Zohrek took hold of his mother's hands. They were shaking. He'd done this. Not only had he hurt Caellum, but now his mother was suffering for his lapse in judgment. "It will be alright, Mother. It's only two years. I lost my temper. I shouldn't have. Forgive me."
"Oh, my boy!" Ozemir crushed him in a hug and Zohrek allowed himself a moment to press his face against his mother's neck. But when he felt tears dropping on his head and felt his mother's silent cries, Zohrek pulled away. He then raised on his toes to kiss his mother's wet cheek before spinning away and walking towards his father, who's look of absolute fury made him quake in his boots. His father was furious with him for what he'd done, but most of all for causing his mother pain.
When they stepped out of their apartment, leaving his mother heartbroken and alone in his room, Zohrek was dismayed to find the Emperors waiting in the hall. Zohrek immediately flinched away from Uncle Draco's flat stare and instead shuffled over to Uncle Harry, staring at his toes. "I'm sorry. I really am. I didn't mean to hurt Caellum. Will you tell him? Please? Will you ask him to forgive me? Will you forgive me, please?"
By this time tears were running down his cheeks but he didn't care. He'd caused a lot of pain to all sides of his family and he wasn't going to get to see Caellum for years, and even now he knew Caellum wouldn't want to see him. Caellum was stubborn and he knew how to hold a grudge. He was a ruthless bastard when it came to holding grudges. And he would have taken Zohrek's words as the ultimate betrayal.
Zohrek stiffened when Harry's arms wrapped around him tightly. He remained stiff for a moment before returning the embrace and cried harder.
"Zohrek, it's okay. Of course we forgive you. You're a young boy. You're allowed to make mistakes! Children are allowed to bicker!" Zohrek felt Uncle Harry move his head. "Draco-"
"This must be done, lover."
A hand grabbed Zohrek's arm and pulled him away and he was them being hugged by Draco. "We'll tell him, Zohrek. You above all know there's no guarantee he'll listen." Zohrek nodded against his chest. Draco pat the back of his head. "You be strong and remember all of your training and when you return to us, you'll come back a stronger elf."
Zohrek nodded and pulled back just in time to get one last asphyxiating hug from Uncle Harry before he was released and Harry ran into the apartment, probably to go cry with his mother. After that his father and Uncle Draco walked him through the palace and into a mostly dark and empty private courtyard. Zohrek was relieved that at least he was only going to have to face the Commander before he was taken to wherever it was he was going.
"You realize why you're being punished?" Falde asked, standing in front of him with his hands clasped behind his back.
Falde nodded. "You know you are allowed to argue with Caellum in private. But you did it in public. You blatantly disrespected the Crown Prince in front of many junior warriors and training royal guards."
"Yes, sir," Zohrek whispered, still staring at the Commander's boots.
"Zohrek, look me in the eye." Zohrek immediately did as was ordered and was relieved when he found Falde wasn't glaring death at him. "And as for that young warrior… if he deserved to die by your hand, you should have called for a duel. Attacking as you did leaves nothing for honor. Understand?"
"Very well." Falde relaxed then. "Say goodbye to your father and Uncle Draco now."
Zohrek turned to his father and couldn't quite meet his eyes. "Goodbye, Father. I am sorry for bringing shame upon our family."
Brumek dropped a hand to his son's shoulder and squeezed. It wasn't a particularly gentle squeeze either, but he knew his father was trying to not let his anger get the better of him. "You will come back stronger and this black spot will be wiped from your record."
Zohrek nodded and finally looked his father in the eye. "Where am I going?"
"Your first destination is to the underground excavations," Brumek answered.
Zohrek gasped. "Father, no!"
"You be silent!"
"But Father! All those Scholars and their annoying nit picking ways! All I did was kill one little soldier who deserved it! He was weak and jealous and he said awful things about Caellum! He deserved to die!"
Zohrek huffed and glowered at the ground.
"You were weak allowing a peer to sway your thoughts!" Brumek growled furiously.
Zohrek nodded in surrender and then looked as if he wanted to crumple to the ground. Instead he grimaced in disgust and shivered violently.
Draco shared an amused look with Falde. Zohrek was just like Brumek. It was torture being surrounded by a group of Scholars, despite Brumek's mate and Zohrek's mother being one. And where Zohrek was going there were nearly a hundred Scholars, and Zohrek would be one among a few warriors who had to do every little thing the Scholars wanted them to. It was a perfect punishment. Zohrek needed to learn control, discipline, and above all, patience.
So the separation began. Caellum to the Citadel within the Qylacae mountains and Zohrek far underground to help excavate many of the lost cities unearthed during the last war. Zohrek learned not a gods damned thing during his time with the bloody Scholars, though he was often visited by his mother. Ozemir saying he was only there to help out. At first Zohrek had been grateful to see his mother, but then the gratefulness disappeared. His mother turned out to be the worst out of all the Scholars with his demands and Zohrek could tell his mother did it on purpose.
However, Zohrek did grow stronger physically and mentally, in that he was able to hold his temper. He'd had so many reasons and opportunities to slay the blasted annoying Scholars, but he'd held firm, kept his mouth shut, and did what he was told like a good pack mule. Digging, ferrying messages back and forth, and cleaning old useless artifacts with little brushes half the size of his finger. He had never been so happy when the second year of his punishment began and he was sent to the Southern mines where there were only more unruly warriors and miners. No Scholars in sight. After a year with the Scholars, the Southern mines turned out to be paradise.
And as for Caellum, the young prince adored his time with Zynfrae at the Citadel and around the realm when they went on 'field trips'. He soaked up the knowledge the old Scholar had to give like a sponge. And he'd also been able to roam about the realm with Dagon, Mila, and their daughter, Shaer, who was three years younger than him. He'd gone to visit them for a couple of months that year when Zynfrae had to go and give a series of lectures at the Academy. Towards the end of that first year, he returned to the Palace one time. For the birth of his second brother, Taren. No daughter yet for the Emperors. He'd remained in Borsteria a week before returning back to the Citadel.
Throughout that first year, no matter how much Caellum was learning about the world and himself, Zohrek was always there with him, in the forefront of his mind and for a time Caellum hated it. Hated Zohrek. Hated him for saying what he had said. For implying what he had, and for not talking to him about it instead of finally bursting out with what had been bothering him. In the worst place and the worst possible way. So as long as not a day went by when he thought of his friend, Caellum hated him. He felt such a betrayal and it burned his chest every time he thought of Zohrek.
But then he went to Hogwarts and soon his friend was nearly forgotten. He was always there, but now at the back of Caellum's mind as he learned about humans and human magic; spending his time with Uncle Severus and Aunt Hermione, his grandfathers and the triplets who were also in the same year as he and Michael. Being able to go to Hogwarts with friends and family had been wonderful and he was grateful for the chance even though he preferred the realm over the human world.
In those few short years, Caellum and Zohrek grew up. They grew up away from each other, and just as Ozemir said, they never saw a glimpse of each other throughout that time. It wasn't impossible for a meeting, but Caellum purposely avoided the young warrior. He wasn't ready to see his friend again. After Hogwarts, he spent a few months with his grandparents and spent his nights going out with Eadric, Peria, Talynia, and Michael. Scorpius was too young and was only going to be starting his Sixth year with Sorcha and Mary.
During the days Caellum often accompanied the Dark Lord to the Ministry. By that time he was far more interested in the State of Affairs. His father had been over the moon when he discovered his first born finally had a taste for politics. He was so pleased it spurned a rumor that his father had dragged his mother away somewhere and they hadn't been seen for a week after! Caellum shivered and tried not to think of that. If it were true, he knew very well what they had been doing. His father got like that sometimes when he was very pleased about something and his mother never complained. Ever. Yes, he and his brother had been traumatized several times over throughout the years. Just as Uncle Tom had predicted. He and Scorpius had walked in on their parents going at it so many times they lost count. And it was always their parents fault. Did the Emperors' keep it in the bedroom? Of course not! They could be found going at it anywhere and everywhere! Honestly, Caellum felt sorry for little Taren, who was still too young to attend Hogwarts and thus stuck with his two very sexually active and irresponsible parents.
After the human world, Caellum travelled the realm and spent a large amount of time at the Citadel or returning to the still ongoing excavations. He visited home often, but he made sure to only return for weeks at a time when he knew a certain someone was off on a legion tour. Caellum travelled around until his mother had enough and begged his return; begged him to return home permanently and to finally get on with completing Academy and taking up his mantel as first born prince. And because Caellum could sense his mother's desperation to have him back home, Caellum had steeled himself to return and let the inevitable happen.
Two days after returning to Borsteria, summer officially upon them, Caellum stumbled out of his room with his arms full of scrolls. He didn't think to call out a greeting or goodbye to his parents. Because of the time, they were either in their bedroom, indisposed- eye roll- or they were already gone, and he already knew Scorpius and Taren were gone. Scorpius would have been off at first light, causing mischief with Sorcha, Mary, and other cousins his age, while his little green haired baby brother was staying in the human world with Lucius and Sirius, their grandparents.
As he left the Royal apartment, Caellum squared his shoulders and tried to douse the apprehension spreading through him and the nervous fast beating of his heart. He couldn't help but think of Zohrek, wondering when the inevitable would occur. Despite all the good times he'd had with Zynfrae and then in the human world, despite all the fun and friends he'd made at Hogwarts, Caellum had missed his best friend desperately, even though he'd vehemently denied it the first three years. But the truth was, they had a bond and it wasn't going to go away just because they'd had a fight. Just because Zohrek had lost his mind for a moment. They had been boys, and Caellum knew Zohrek hadn't meant it. Granted, it had taken Caellum two years to acknowledge the apology his parents were given.
Even still, Caellum was a little mad still at Zohrek. Why couldn't he have talked to him about the worries clouding his mind when they were younger? They were supposed to have been best friends. Caellum told Zohrek everything, and he had thought Zohrek did the same. Apparently not. And then for Zohrek to treat him like that right in the middle of a bloody public courtyard. Caellum scowled as he strode down the hall. Well, he certainly wasn't going to act as if nothing had happened. If Zohrek wanted to continue to be friends, he was going to have to work for it!
"Caellum, there you are!"
The first born prince looked up and smiled brightly at his mother. "Hello, Mama."
His mother's wings fluttered in pleasure. Harry loved that he still called him mama, which is exactly why Caellum still did it. He would do anything to please his mother. He'd been spoiled. Everyone said it, he knew it, because his mother and father had basically missed most of the first year and a half of his life off trying to end a war. After the war ended, Harry became pregnant again with Scorpius, but even with Scorpius there was hardly a time Caellum was not with his parents. He was known as a mamma's boy. Honestly he didn't much care, unless Scorpius was teasing him about it. And he did. Often.
"Where were you off to? Have you had breakfast? You should eat. You're still a growing boy."
Caellum rolled his eyes. "I was going to head to the Academy library. I wanted to cross reference the information in these scrolls. I'll pick up a sweet roll or something on my way."
"The family is still in the breakfast room. Please come," Harry implored.
"Hirsha, not the whole family!" Caellum exclaimed dramatically with a wide smile.
By this time, the Royal family had grown and was now considered the largest Clan in the realm as well as being the largest Royal family in Ukatae history.
Harry laughed. "No. Most of the children are running around somewhere, there's only a few eating now…" he trailed off and glanced at the Ukatae striding beside him.
His son. His first born. Caellum had grown so much since leaving for Hogwarts. He was a few months away from being an adult. He was taller than Harry now, though wasn't quite his father's height. Caellum had kept up with his training throughout the years and was now the owner toned lithe body. No longer did he have knobby knees and awkward elbows. He was a looker too with his messy black locks and large gold eyes and aristocratic features. He also had two piercing in his right ear, currently two small silver hoops. Harry frowned. He didn't much care for Caellum covering his beautiful eyes with the bangs of his hair, but no matter what Harry said, Caellum would never change the style of his hair. Beyond his looks, Caellum was very intelligent, always making the highest grades, doing extra projects. He was a fine Crown Prince and his parents were nothing but proud of him. "Will you come?"
"Anything for you, Mama."
Caellum missed his mother's smirk then, for at that moment he dropped a couple of scrolls and had to quickly crouch down to pluck them out of the air.
"You're a good boy."
When he straightened, Caellum smirked. "Not according to Uncle Severus."
"Hmm, yes. Your father and I were called to Hogwarts one too many times due to your 'fun'."
"I had to do something for entertainment otherwise I would have died of boredom most of my time there! And I know very well you thought it was funny, Mama."
"I did, but don't tell your Father that."
"And at least I wasn't as bad as Peria and Talynia! Or Eadric for that matter, though he was sneakier and hardly ever got caught."
"That's because Eadric is just like his mother whereas the twins are more like Sirius."
They had come upon the antechamber that would lead into the Family Breakfast room and Caellum followed his mother through. Every other second his mother's wings would lift and fidget. "Why do I get the sense you're strangely excited? Is Father whispering vulgar things into your mind right now?"
Harry spun around to stare at his son with a look of mock horror. "Caellum!" he cried loudly.
Caellum was still laughing as Harry waved the doors open and strode in. He cradled his scrolls in one hand and lifted his free hand to wipe away a fake tear of mirth as he stepped into the brightly sunlit breakfast room, smiling at those around him. His father, Falde, Tom, Hermione, Brumek, Ozemir- "Ozemir! I found these brilliant ancient scrolls, really well preserved, and I was going to go to the Academy library and thought you might want to help me…" Caellum trailed off when he saw who was sitting beside his most favorite Scholar.
He snapped his mouth shut and stared. His smile dropped into a kind of slack shock. Zohrek. But Hirsha, how he'd grown! The elf was sitting down, but even then it was clear he was taller than his mother and probably only a few inches shorter than the Second. And he'd bulked up too, though again he wasn't as bulky as Falde or Brumek. His face had matured, and instead of the spiky hair Caellum remembered, his mostly white hair was flattened down, pressed against his forehead in a soft wave to the side; it cradled his face too and fell down to his chin. And instead of his parents' straight hair, Zohrek's hair had a sort of tame curl to it. And oh gods, his chest was broad and wide and looked solid… All in all, Zohrek was a massive piece of eye candy. Why had no one told him this? He would need to shout off the ears of his informers.
"Caellum, sit," his mother prodded.
"Over here, love," Aunt Hermione demanded and she pat the empty chair beside her. Hermione sent a little smirk Harry's way. One in which he returned. Tom rolled his eyes and kept himself busy talking to his brother, who was understandably distracted by Zohrek, who had yet to stop staring at his son.
Caellum pulled his eyes away from captivating heliotrope orbs drilling into him and managed to make his legs move. As he settled beside Aunt Hermione, he placed the scrolls at the end of the table where there was free space. Good morning, Uncle Tom, he hissed.
Caellum, Uncle Tom greeted with a nod and a small smile.
Caellum then leaned over to place a kiss on his Aunt's cheek before focusing solely on his plate and not the young warrior sitting directly across from him. He could feel Zohrek's gaze steadily on his bent head, but he ignored it and allowed the voices of his family to wash over him as he tried to eat something.
"So Caellum, what about these scrolls?"
Caellum jerked a little, not having seen or heard Ozemir get up to move beside him. But Ozemir was there, pulling the scrolls to him and looking excited. Caellum pushed his nervousness away, sending one glare at his smirking mother, before turning to Ozemir.
"I found them last week when I was visiting Zynfrae in the lost village of Stuan." At the mention of Stuan, he caught movement from the corner of his eyes. Zohrek had shuddered and groaned in disgust. Several people around the table snickered and Caellum wondered what that was about. "Anyway, there is a lot of lost history in these scrolls!"
Caellum grinned brightly and missed how Zohrek's lips parted slightly as if in a silent pant, nor did he notice Zohrek clutching at his fork more tightly at the sight of that smile. Draco didn't miss this though and now the blond Emperor's eyes were boring into Zohrek's forehead.
Caellum went on, ignorant to all this. "I had planned to go to the library and do some more research."
"Oh, I'll join you! I don't have a class until the late afternoon."
"Brilliant! Are you ready now?"
Ozemir was already helping Caellum scoop up the scrolls and standing, so that was obviously a yes then and in a moment they were both quickly heading out of the room.
"Caellum! You didn't even eat anything!"
"I had a bite, Mama. I'll eat a big lunch, yeah!" he called back before disappearing. Tom and Hermione fidgeted for a moment before Tom turned to his sister. Easily reading his thoughts she smiled and nodded. They wanted in on the project too. Ukatae history was fascinating and if Caellum had discovered something new…. Tom could delay his return to the human world for a few hours more. Luna nor Severus were expecting them till the evening anyway.
Tom stood. "We're going to help," he declared before helping Hermione out of her chair. At this time she was heavily pregnant with her second child. Soon they were gone.
Zohrek wasn't far behind them, mumbling about training, and was also gone, leaving Harry laughing into his hand and Draco scowling at nothing.
"Hirsha, the tension!"
Draco's scowl morphed into disgust. "And the arousal." Then he glared at Brumek. "Mostly on your son's part too. How dare he think such things about my son with me sitting right here? He was practically drooling onto the table!"
"It's not my fault your son has turned out to be a fine figure of an elf!" Brumek barked back. "Zohrek has good taste!"
Draco ignored the compliment. "He had the thought of grabbing Caellum and throwing him onto this very table! Does he never wank? It was instantaneous!"
"He's a very physical elf!"
Draco stood and slammed his hand on the table, his glare turning frosty. "You better make sure you keep your son's promiscuous hands off my son!"
"It's not promiscuity! It's a healthy appreciation for the finer sex!"
"Finer sex? Are you calling my son a nancy now?" Draco shouted.
"I never said any such thing!"Brumek bellowed back.
"Why didn't you just say appreciation for sex then? Why finer sex?" the blond demanded.
"You are being completely irrational, young one!"
Harry was left in hysterics, while Falde laughed quietly. He couldn't wait to relay this fight back to Fred.
Draco suddenly pulled in a deep breath, seeming to get under control. With one last glare at Brumek he turned to his husband. "Harry, we can't fuck for a month. I have to get that vision out of my head first."
Harry's laughter abruptly cut off. "What? No!"
Falde continued to laugh. He would never tire of his family.
Caellum was excited! There was to be a concert and he would be escorting his mother to the Jahnaevu, Borsteria's Royal Concert Hall. He hadn't been to a performance since before his teaching with Zynfrae started. And Curo was performing, which was even better because Caellum always enjoyed hearing Curo perform.
Caellum was escorting his mother that evening because his father was unable to make the performance. Draco was out of the city, along with Brumek and Falde; spur of the moment meetings with a few Governors. It was an honor and pleasure to be able to take his mother. It would be just the two of them in their private viewing box nearly directly above the stage. It was safe to say he was excited and eager for the performance.
But that changed when he got to their private box just as Ozemir and Zohrek did. Ozemir and Harry greeted each other excitedly, separated from their sons and entered the box arm and arm. From the way they met, it was obvious they had known the other was going to be there. Caellum glared at his mother's back a moment before bringing his eyes back to the still as statue elf standing before him. Now he was vibrating from noting but unbridled tension. Already he had a headache and Zohrek was just standing there staring at him with light purple eyes void of any emotion that he could see.
Caellum gave Zohrek a curt nod because it would have been rude not to acknowledge him since he was standing right there, and then strode into the box to take up the chair seated next to his mother near the wall. Caellum then hissed at his mother. Harry returned with a sly smile he didn't appreciate at all. A minute passed before Zohrek entered the box and took up the seat next to Ozemir. Caellum thanked Aunt Luna that his mother and Ozemir were seated between them.
Harry and Ozemir looked at each other from the corner of their eyes and smiled slightly. It was strained due to the heavy tension they could feel. None of it was good because their sons hadn't made up. Doubt, insecurity, hope, and emptiness… the feeling was enough to make Harry sick to his stomach so he moved and placed a hand on his son's thigh, sending out soothing vibes. Caellum took his hand in his and held it. Harry smiled; still grateful Caellum had no problem with taking his mother's public displays of affection. Scorpius had begun to complain about his public affections a year ago.
Harry sighed quietly. Caellum had been avoiding Zohrek for the last two years on purpose. Harry knew his son had made sure to only visit the palace when he knew Zohrek was off with the legions. But Harry and Ozemir had said enough was enough and made sure the two finally came together again. Even if they weren't going to mates, they were still the best of friends. They had a bond that couldn't be broken. And Harry knew his son was scared. Somewhere deep down, Caellum still had a fear that Zohrek had meant what he said when they were boys. He needed to see his fears were unjustified. Zohrek had pined away for Caellum during the prince's absence. In fact, not a day went by that Zohrek hadn't inquired about Caellum and his welfare and when he would be returning home.
From the corner of his eye, Harry saw Ozemir do the same and drop a hand on Zohrek's spastically jumping knee. The jumping stopped and Zohrek seemed to relax a tiny bit.
"This is going to be wonderful," Ozemir whispered to him. "Curo is doing a duet with Luraen."
"Really? I didn't know she was ready… I mean, I've heard her and she sounds like an angel."
"It's a surprise performance. Apparently Curo and Dillek couldn't wait to show off Luraen's talents."
Caellum sat straight back in his chair as he heard this and couldn't help but smile as he studied the full house below, giving a nod and a smile when he saw Corae out there with Haedya and their mates. Corae waving wildly to him, much to Haedya's frustration. The twins were in attendance also, with a child each and a nervous Dillek beside them. His mother was correct. Curo and Dillek's only child so far, little Luraen, was only eight, and yet she had a heavenly voice. She belonged on stage with her father. It had become quite apparent when she was only two and could be found singing wherever she went at all times.
Beside him, his mother laughed quietly and bent heads with Ozemir. "Look at Dillek. He's so excited."
With their heads bent together like that, his vision of Zohrek was no longer blocked and he could see the young warrior was staring at him. Caellum was not a coward- never mind those years he'd purposely avoided Zohrek- so he pulled in a breath and turned his head fraction, meeting those eyes dead on. Caellum rose a brow after a moment of them just staring at each other. To his amusement, Zohrek arched a brow right back and the corner of his mouth quirked… Zohrek's mouth was fine too. It had filled out slightly since they were boys and now it looked firm and full and completely snoggable.
Caellum liked to snog. It was about the only thing he actually did in regards to sexual actions- or so his father thought- because like his father had always told him, Malfoys only spread around false reputations. Well okay, he'd had some hand jobs before and he'd had sex with a female before, but he didn't count that, as that experience had been horrible and according to his father's rules, he was supposed to still be a virgin. Which is why he'd always stolen the memories of anyone he did anything more than snog with. Wouldn't do for any unsavory information to get back to his father only because people couldn't keep a secret.
When he realized he'd been staring at Zohrek's mouth for far too long, Caellum cleared his throat and went back to staring at the dark stage. He shifted, lifted a leg and perched his ankle up on the opposite knee and waited for the show to begin. He didn't have to wait long. The lights went off around the audience who all quieted at once, the curtains rose, the stage lights- soft and ethereal- came on, and a lone figure walked upon the stage, surrounded by trees and vines and a small waterfall. All props created by magic.
As soon as Curo began to sing, Caellum was swept away. Away from his tension and Zohrek and problems of any kind. It was easy to forget when Curo sang his heart out. And most didn't know this, but Curo often sang his heart out to his mate, who always seemed to melt in his seat and could be seen crying silent tears before the show even ended. Caellum had always thought that was sweet.
Upon intermission, Caellum huffed as he stood and helped his mother from his seat. "I wanted to see Luraen," he muttered.
"The duet will probably be the last number since it's a surprise performance."
"Curo seems to get better and better with each passing year!" Ozemir exclaimed happily.
Harry nodded as they vacated their box. "I think because he likes and is comfortable with changing his style every so often. He's a true performer. Gifted. And he embraces that."
"His first song was brilliant," Caellum said.
Harry sighed. "Your father is going to be upset when he finds out he's missed Luraen's first performance."
"He'll have plenty of opportunities. And you could always show him with the Pensieve at Malfoy Manor."
"But still…" Harry sighed again.
"Mama, you're sighing again. Has Father's eye begun to twitch yet?"
He looked over and shared a grin with Ozemir. They knew what it meant when Harry started sighing over every little thing. His mother cleared his throat, but a soft smile settled onto his face. Caellum prayed for a little girl. His parents really wanted a little girl.
"Zohrek, what did you think?" Ozemir asked.
Caellum looked from his mother, over to the tall hunk at the end of their four person wide line. He shrugged his broad shoulders. "The performance has yet to end, Mother."
Ozemir tisked and shook his head.
Caellum surprised himself by stopping and turning to Zohrek. "Still have no appreciations for the Fine Arts, I see."
Zohrek stopped and faced him. "I have plenty of appreciation but I fail to see how making a judgment at this time does any good when only half the show has been seen. However I will admit to always enjoying Curo's performances. Though I will always refuse to admit it in his presence."
"Did that admittance kill you?"
"I'm still standing upright, aren't I?"
An amused snort escaped Caellum before he could help it. And when he looked, Zohrek's eyes were warmer than they had been. Caellum cleared his throat and looked away; he looked to find Ozemir and his mother had deserted him with Zohrek. No fair! "I better go find Mother."
The prince steeled himself and turned back. "Yes?" he asked, a bit of steel and ice in his tone.
Zohrek was looking at him with grief now. With grief and worry and guilt and it tore at Caellum's soul. "I must also admit I wish we could talk already. About what happened… to get past it. The waiting is killing me and-"
"You got taller," Caellum said lowly. Zohrek looked surprised for a moment before he shrugged and nodded. "And also you've become," he raised his hands up and pulled them apart to indicate the broadness of the warrior's shoulders, "wider."
Zohrek rolled his eyes. "Caellum-"
Caellum took a step back and his face blanked. "Highness," he said coldly. "That's what you think of me, isn't it? That's how you think I perceive you, correct? Royalty and subject. Let's not move out of your happy boundaries, my lowly subject."
Zohrek stared at him for a moment and then narrowed his eyes. "Very funny," he deadpanned.
Caellum dropped the cold expression and snickered. Feeling lighter than he had all year.
"I suppose I deserved that," Zohrek went on.
"Yes." Caellum said, nodded solemnly. "Very much so."
"Have you," Zohrek paused and reached up to slide a hand over the hair at his forehead, flicking it up a little so that it only curved over his eyebrows instead of falling over his eyes. "Am I forgiven for being an idiot and not talking to you about it when I should have? For keeping those misgivings to myself?"
Caellum didn't answer right away. He was too busy looking at Zohrek's hair. Hirsha, his hair looked good the way it was! This thought had Caellum snickering, and then full out laughing. Zohrek raised an eyebrow. The only smidgeon of emotion on his face now. Caellum gestured to his hair. "Your mother… You mother styled your hair, didn't he?"
Caellum had the pleasure of seeing a light blush cross Zohrek's face. It was rather lovely. Just like his hair. From the way the warrior had been messing with it, Caellum thought Zohrek must be as vain about his hair as Ozemir was, and his own father. Had Zohrek picked up even more vain behavior from his mother? Caellum didn't know why, but the thought of Zohrek, a warrior, being vain about his looks sent heat shooting through his body, both fondness and a wanting he was unused to.
"Mother says that just because I'm following in Father's footsteps it doesn't mean I shouldn't have any fashion sense. I might agree with him. A little."
"Brilliant! You are vein!" Caellum then slapped a hand over his mouth. He hadn't meant to say that out loud.
Zohrek grinned. "Not as much as Mother. Father would kill me. Besides, Mother has Celyl now to torture. Celyl's far prettier than I am."
I have to disagree. Luckily this time he didn't say that aloud. He turned away slightly. "I must go now. I'm supposed to be escorting Mama."
As he was turning to leave, a big hand wrapped around his bicep, and he was turned back. He looked at that hand. It wrapped around his arm and still Zohrek's fingers overlapped. Caellum forced back a shiver. Hirsha what was wrong with him? He managed to drag his eyes to Zohrek's, sucking in a breath at the look in Zohrek's eyes.
"I have missed you, Caellum."
"I missed you too," Caellum easily admitted, and then smiled up at the elf. "But I think the separation was good for us."
Zohrek seemed to sigh in relief. "Yes, I agree. Except for the part where I lost my temper, hurt you, killed that idiot Raegan and got sent away for two years as punishment. The first year was spent with the underground excavations." He shuddered again, and Caellum grinned. Ah, that's what that was about then. Even before they'd had that fight, Caellum knew Zohrek looked at Scholars as a whole just as his father did. It was a constant source of annoyance for Ozemir.
"What did you do to this Raegan?"
"Slammed the hilt of my sword into his temple. Crushed his skull into his brain. He should not have angered me."
Caellum shook his head. "Zohrek."
"What? I had every right!"
"Clearly you didn't learn control."
"Oh shut up."
After a moment they both grinned at each other. It was just like old times. How could it be possible to so easily fall back into the old routine? Caellum wasn't complaining. He wasn't even annoyed with himself for not making Zohrek work for it. He felt that would be wasting time. "We really must be going."
Zohrek nodded. "Will you… Come train with me tomorrow. I need to make sure the human world hasn't made you soft."
Caellum scoffed. "Please. As if I was allowed to be lazy there."
"Fine. I'll see you an hour after dawn in the private arena."
Zohrek stepped back, sketched a bow with a smirk, and waved Caellum on before him. Caellum shook his head a little, smiling and walking off, while Zohrek followed a few steps behind. Caellum had no idea Zohrek's eyes never really left his backside. At all. The two didn't speak another word either throughout the rest of the evening, though their mothers did catch them giving each other discreet looks.
When Luraen finally came out onto the stage to join her father and the musicians, she walked with grace and poise even at her young age, her chin lifted proudly, just as she'd been taught by her father. Zohrek turned slightly when he caught movement and found Caellum and their mothers had scooted up to the edge of their seats. He pushed down a bubble of laughter. All three were exhibiting the same trait of excitement. They all had their bottom lip pinched between their teeth. Zohrek was far more interested in watching Caellum's mouth and those teeth and had this ravaging hunger to go over and lick at those teeth and the lip that was no doubt being bruised, reddened, and plumped. He could imagine how the blood would swell and pour out if he took just a little bite…
Zohrek had not been prepared for the changes his friend had gone through during his growing up. He'd expected to come face to face with the same little boy he remembered. It was probably naive of him, but he would never admit that misgiving even under pain of death. His father would laugh at him and then send him back to the Southern mines. But still, Caellum looked different, and yet the same. He could clearly see his old friend still there. The same boy whom he'd shared everything with. And for some reason, he thought that made the attraction far stronger. He wasn't sure what to do about that.
Caellum wasn't like the others and Zohrek didn't want him to be. Caellum wasn't a stranger. It was quite clear after their talk. Years had passed, and yet it seemed none did. They'd even fallen back to some of their bonded quirks before even talking it out, like the eye brow raising thing. In all honestly, it was a relief to Zohrek… only he had no idea how to deal with the instant arousal he felt whenever he looked at the prince.
Really, it wasn't his fault. Caellum had come back taller, squared shoulders, just the right side of broad. A nice chest he was always showing off by his tight tunics, and a stomach that tapered off down to slim hips and long strong legs. He had a strong jaw, a little on the pointed side, high cheek bones and a straight high-bred nose. His lips weren't exactly plump, but they were finely sculpted and his eyes… well, sadly his eyes were mostly hidden behind a beautiful black fringe. Caellum's backside though… he'd seen it clearly enough and it was exquisite. He'd never seen an arse so fine and Zohrek had seen many.
He wasn't exactly pure. He'd had a healthy sex life since hitting puberty. He liked sex. Very much. But that's all it was; intercourse between two strangers and he never looked back the day after, even if his one night lovers wanted him to. He was, after all, an exceptional lover. But that begs the question, what should he do about this attraction? Despite everything, Caellum was still the Crown Prince and Zohrek was a little bit afraid of Uncle Draco. Alright, not a little. A whole lot. Uncle Draco was mean sometimes. Mean and cold and terrifying when he wasn't in a good mood.
Zohrek was thankful when the orchestra began to play and he made himself pay attention to the performance. He could understand the excitement of the three beside him. This was an event for Luraen. Her coming out into the Theatrical guild. Her first ever public performance. And being the daughter of Curo, she was no doubt being scrutinized. But at her first note, a note that soared through the Hall, all the scrutiny disappeared and she had the audience in a trance. And with her father's voice alongside hers, a strong stirring masculine echo, it was easily the best performance of the night. Zohrek wondered if Curo was even a little bit jealous of his daughter.
It became apparent he was not. After the performance ended, the performers gathered in a room set aside for cast parties and the like, and certain members of the audience were invited to join. Of course that meant the Royal family. Curo and Dillek could be seen standing with their daughter, both smiling proudly as Luraen was praised again and again. Curo looked nothing but proud and Luraen beamed at her father, probably relieved and happy she had made him proud and had not tarnished his reputation in any way. In fact she had probably just lifted Curo's heavy reputation yet again. They had a legacy now.
Zohrek turned away from them in order to trace Caellum's movements. The Crown Prince had already congratulated the performers, had rightly praised little Luraen, and was now moving away, raising a hand and calling out to someone. Zohrek caught bright orange hair and imperceptibly relaxed. Of course Fred and George were in attendance. They would never miss little Luraen's entrance to the Fine Arts world. Zohrek watched the twins usher their young children- both girls. One with blue hair, the other with fire gold hair- off to Ozemir's capable and loving hands and then they headed straight for the prince and soon the three disappeared into an alcove. He shifted on his feet, immediately uncomfortable at Caellum's disappearance from his immediate sight. Hirsha, he was in trouble.
"You two!" Caellum said, coming face to face with his Uncles, smiling at Maegan, Fred's daughter and only child, and then at Roslae, George's second child as they dashed off to Ozemir. He turned back to the twins. "How could you?"
"Err…hello to you too, mate," Fred returned, grinning.
"Give us a hug, Caellum! Haven't seen you in months. A bit upset by that. You've been back for a week already!"
Caellum hummed and hugged them. "Sorry about that. I have been busy with research and catching up with the State of Affairs."
"No harm done," George declared as he and his brother grabbed their nephew's arms and pulled him away from the watching crowds into an alcove. Fred instantly erected a privacy barrier. "Now then. What is it? You looked like you had something to say beyond the obligatory hello."
"Yes! I have a bone to pick with you two!"
"What? What did we do this time?"
"Not once in all your letters did you tell me about Zohrek!"
"Sure we did! We told you when he finally graduated from the Junior Legion and when he started academy, and all his tours. We told you when he would and wouldn't be in Borsteria. We kept you posted like you wanted."
"No! You never… you never said how good he looked though!"
The twins blinked at him and then grinned. "Ah. Well… we wanted that to be a surprise, yeah?"
"No! He's… he's gorgeous. You should have warned me so I could prepare. So I could…"
"Make defenses in order to not be immediately aroused upon first laying eyes on him?" Fred asked.
"He's quite the lover, you know," said George.
"Has a reputation."
"A sort of quiet one."
"But there's rumors going around."
"Zohrek's a sought after lover."
"Methinks he's practicing for someone."
"Apparently he's earned the title 'best lover ever'."
Caellum laughed. "You're making that up!"
"Actually, no. Not that one."
Caellum wished they hadn't told him that. Now he couldn't help but think… he wasn't jealous. It was the thought of Zohrek doing things like that and Caellum had a very good imagination. He could imagine well having Zohrek's hands and mouth on him. And apparently Zohrek was experienced and that was even better. The thought of letting Zohrek take care of him, of his old friend being the one to take his virginity (where it counts)… deep down he'd always thought he and Zohrek would be together forever. Was that a naive thought? Probably. How could they be together forever when at some point, a mate would get in the way? This thought made him terribly sad so he quickly went back to thinking about Zohrek's sexual prowess.
The prince was nudged out of his thoughts when Fred tugged on his hair. "Look at you. Cheeks flushed, eyes glassy… did you just shiver?"
Caellum pulled in a deep breath. "I think I'm in trouble."
His uncles gave him grins that weren't helpful at all.
The following morning, Caellum met Zohrek in the training arena. They started out running. Or Zohrek ordered Caellum to run and he joined the prince. Caellum was determined to prove he hadn't been made soft by the human world. But of course Zohrek came to training without a shirt on so much of the time Caellum was distracted and purposely ran a step behind Zohrek in order to be able to stare at Zohrek's back.
A couple of times Zohrek looked over his broad shoulder and smirked at him as if he knew what Caellum was doing. Which was quite embarrassing, but Zohrek never said anything. And since he didn't say anything, Caellum continued to watch the muscles on Zohrek's back with fascination.
They ran for two hours and Caellum was dismayed to find himself exhausted by that time. Perhaps the human world had made him soft. Still he didn't complain when Zohrek immediately demanded they spar with swords. And he was impressed with himself when he could keep up with the trained warrior. Especially when Zohrek murmured, "I'm impressed," after another hour when they'd locked swords up in an 'x' between each other. This meant they were standing toe to toe. They were both panting from exertion, hair damp from perspiration, and eyes bright from being so active. Caellum had an overwhelming urge to toss his sword aside and offer himself up to Zohrek on a silver platter. He might very well have done it too had he not been unsure as to how he would be received.
"You should be impressed," he declared with a smirk. "If I couldn't impress, Father would find me lacking."
"Nonsense, Caellum. Your father would never find any faults with you… beyond your piercings. I recall a week long rant about that and he shot anyone who asked with a bolt of lightning when he was outdoors."
Caellum laughed as stepped back and dropped his sword. "Yes. He said I was rebelling and corrupted Mama in the process."
"I like it." Zohrek dropped his own sword and took a step forward, reaching a hand out to Caellum's pointed right ear where there was an emerald stud in his lobe and a small hoop in the cartilage near the point. He was fingering the stud, but he wasn't looking at the earrings. He was looking straight into Caellum's eyes.
Caellum pulled in a breath, body suddenly strung tight like a bow. "Gives my appearance a certain flare, yeah?"
Zohrek gave a noncommittal sound and dropped his hand. "Hand to hand now."
Caellum would have sighed in relief, but he didn't think he would relax until the entire training session was over with. And sparring hand to hand with Zohrek was certainly not going to help.
He gave as good as he got though during hand to hand, pulling himself inward, focusing solely on the moves. On defending and attacking and strictly not thinking about Zohrek's warm slick skin that occasionally pressed against him. Half an hour passed before one of them gained an edge. Unfortunately it was Zohrek and he managed to grab Caellum in a head lock, pinning the prince's back against his chest. The only thing between them was Caellum's hands which were also pinned behind his back.
"You were too easily incapacitated," Zohrek taunted into his ear.
"Perhaps I wanted you to take me," Caellum purred and he was very aware of what he was saying and how. The question was, would Zohrek take it the way it was meant to be taken or would he think it was teasing banter.
Zohrek released him and stepped back. He didn't do it quick enough for Caellum to feel slighted, but the prince felt a certain wariness coming from the young warrior and smirked. After that he was made to practice sword stances, dagger throwing, and more running. He could have said no. He didn't have to listen to Zohrek, but he was enjoying their time together, despite the fact Zohrek was a slave driver.
"You," Caellum proclaimed at the end of training as he dropped to his back onto the arena floor, "are worse than your father!"
"Nonsense. It's only the human world has indeed made you soft."
Caellum pursed his lips in annoyance and barely acknowledged it when Zohrek moved to sit beside him just like they had always done as boys. Only Caellum didn't dare put his head in Zohrek's lap. But when after a moment he felt Zohrek taking a strand of his hair and curling it around his fingers, Caellum arched his head back and smiled at him.
They sat like that, in contented silence, for what seemed like hours, when in fact it was probably only half an hour. "I'm leaving again," Caellum murmured. "Next week."
"What for?" Zohrek demanded. "You've only just returned! Barely back a week." His voice was rough and annoyed and Caellum smiled, shifting and finally laying his head on a hard muscled thigh. Zohrek didn't stop playing with the strand of his hair.
"It's been planned for months. I'll be visiting Aunt Gin and Uncle Blaise. Staying on their ship. Get a feel for sea life. My parents also want me to get to know the Armada so I'll be gone a month."
Nothing more was said, but Caellum could feel Zohrek's displeasure. He wondered why Zohrek felt such a way. It wasn't as if he'd be gone for long. A month was nothing. He didn't get the chance to ask- and he wondered if he were even brave enough to- because a group of elves pranced into the arena, led by Falde and Brumek. Most of them stopped short upon seeing Zohrek and Caellum in such a way. Brumek grimaced for some unknown reason, Falde smirked, and all the younger elves gaped at them.
He and Zohrek didn't move a muscle. Not even when Brumek and Falde began the training. Both of Caellum's brothers were in attendance. Neville and Dudley's son and daughter, Fiol and Luae. Falde and Fred's only so far, Maegan . And Roslae, George and Similae's youngest. Zohrek's sister Celyl as well as Sorcha, Michael, Mary, and Catherine. There were many more youngsters of the extended family, but only those who were staying in Borsteria at the moment were in attendance. Caellum lay silently, watching as Falde separated the group. Youngest elves went with him while Brumek took the older children.
"Why does Caellum get to just lay there?" Scorpius complained.
"Pipe down, Scorpi. I've already trained with Zohrek."
Caellum then went back to ignoring them and instead focused on the fingers still messing with his hair. They felt good. It felt better than it had when they were boys.
"You never did say if you forgive me."
"I'm lying here with my head in your lap again. What do you think?"
"Not exactly in my lap," Zohrek replied lowly and for some reason, the tone of his voice had Caellum flushing scarlet and he pulled away to sit up.
"Yes, you're right. We're a bit too old for that."
"That is not what I said. I made no such indication."
"Hirsha, there you go again. Talking like you're ancient."
One moment he's perfectly happy and content. As if the past years without Zohrek had never happened. Easily falling back to how they had been. But now at this moment, he felt it could never be that way again. He was too tense. Why? Why couldn't he just lay back down and put his head back in Zohrek's lap like he wanted? It shouldn't be so hard to do what he wanted.
"Why can't I see what's in your eyes?" Zohrek questioned.
"What do you mean? I'm sitting right here."
"Aside from the fact you've let your hair grow out to purposely hide your eyes, I am looking in them, and I see a block."
"What do you want from me, Zohrek? We've only now just made up."
"It was fine a moment ago."
Caellum growled lowly and stood. "I've got to go. I'll see you tomorrow. "
Zohrek didn't go after him. Instead he sat there and watched Caellum stalk away and out of the arena. He knew very well Caellum would get over whatever it was by morning.
A/N: so that ends Part One. There will be one more chapter. Probably won't do another, but we'll see. Hope you like this. I've had thier story in my head for months to be honest and I couldn't wait to post it since I have no patience at all! Reviews would be lovely!
Have a great day! :D