Journey To Water's Edge


Chapter Two

Authors note: so this chapter is like 3 weeks late, I know. I'm so sorry! I also hadn't planned on it being nearly 17 thousand words, lol. Without further ado, enjoy!


It took an extra three days for Myde and Zexion to recover enough to be able to travel again. They spent the entire time in the cavern, the extreme heat never breaking, but not penetrating the deep stone walls. With the continued supply of cool, fresh water enough for both men and their horses, they couldn't find any reason to not stay here to recover rather than pushing themselves while trying to heal.

Over those three days, Zexion had come to terms with the attraction that he felt for the blond; however, he had been unable to come up with a way to approach the minstrel on the subject. He had no idea how Myde may react even to the thought of another man being attracted to him. And with their journey coming to an end, it left the prince fewer options and opportunities. Recovering in the cavern had been hard on the slate haired man's self-control to say the least though. After so many days on the road, with the last inn they stayed in unable to provide enough water for proper baths; the two of them were taking advantage of the pools by soaking as much as possible in them. That had been the hardest challenge for Zexion, controlling himself around Myde as he lay naked in the soaking pool. But he somehow had.

They passed the time mostly by making any small repairs they could to their saddle and travelling gear, or just catching up on their rest. Even Melody and Illusion were spending the majority of their time being fully groomed and sleeping; it was as if they knew that the hardest part of the journey was still ahead of them. Myde also passed the time by taking it upon himself to tell the prince what all the stories and legends depicted in the murals and paintings were, something that the slate haired man took in earnestly. The blond then would go on to explain what he thought the possible origins and histories of those tales were, and that usually was enough to ignite the historian flame in Zexion and draw him into an in-depth conversation. It surprised Zexion just how much Myde knew about the histories, but he never once tried to argue the stories. And when the tale included a song, it had the prince completely enthralled. Despite hearing from the minstrel's lips, it still gave the slate haired royal no further clues as to who exactly Myde was beyond the minstrel. He knew there had to be more to him than that.

There were also times when the blond grew weary of singing and talking, and then he would ask Zexion about so many different things regarding his own life. Like why a prince had developed such amazing talent for being an apothecary, especially because the last of the true apothecaries had been wiped out along with magic centuries ago. Magic had been usually required to achieve the potency that the prince's salve had. The salve had done its job impeccably, allowing their wounds to heal quickly and not needing further attention. When he learned that it was a natural talent of the prince's, Myde had gotten a strange glint in his eyes, the same one that he got when the smaller man knew that he was hiding something. Though that looked frustrated him to no end, Zexion had been getting used to it.

Now they were packing everything up from their resting spot, healed enough to move on with their journey.

"So, how much longer do you think it will be until we make it to the temple?" Zexion questioned, with a newly formed comfortable air between them as he lifted Illusions saddle up onto her back. He was so surprised with just how at ease he had become around the blond. There was just something about his presence that he found calming, especially because ever since entering the cavern, there was something that was stirring inside Zexion that he couldn't name. It burned through his blood and settled in his stomach, but it wasn't an unwelcome feeling.

"No more than three days, we should be able to reach the temple the day after tomorrow," the minstrel responded as he began to fill up all their water skins with the cool water of the smaller pool. "We'll be travelling due east from now on. We should easily be able to make it by sundown of the third day. Though, I doubt we will come across another water supply before then. We will be travelling through the deepest part of the forest, so we will have to be constantly aware of our surroundings."

"What sort of things do you expect we will encounter?" the prince inquired, feeling his leg throb as he thought about the attack by the bandits. He wasn't sure if he would be able to handle seeing the craze in the people's eyes over something like water again. Thankfully with the plentiful water available here in the cavern, they would be able to refill everything one last time, but if they were to be attacked again like that, it would put everything in jeopardy. At least this time, if they were attacked, they were well rested and had enough water that they would be able to better defend themselves.

A dark look ghosted over the minstrel's features as he paused while tightening Melody's rump band. For a moment he looked as if he was debating on whether or not he should tell the slate haired royal what to expect, but decided that it probably would be better for the prince to know what they might encounter. "We're going to be in the deepest part of the Black Wood. There is lingering old magic there and it does something to the wildlife there. It changes them into something more than just animals. That's one of the reasons why the temple has been lost. Anyone who goes into the general area comes across them, and it either frightens them enough they run, or they don't survive the encounter."

Zexion paused all movement as he looked over at the blond with wide cobalt eyes. "Don't survive?"

The blond nodded somberly. He was glad he had been truthful with the prince. "Yes. I've seen it. I'm probably one of the few that has seen them, fought them and lived to tell the tale. They call them the Black Shadows. How many different species of them there are, I couldn't tell you. But they all seem to share one thing."

"What's that?" the prince whispered, trying not to let his fear show. He wasn't about to let the minstrel see that he was this afraid. He knew that he would need to be prepared for just about anything on this journey, and Sephiroth and Yazoo had given him some ideas of what he may come across and some suggestions for survival, but neither of them had mentioned anything like that. He would endure it though. If anything, the attack by the bandits had shown him the desperation that was affecting the people of this land and not just Zexion's kingdom. He would make it to the temple.

"A taste for human flesh."

As the words left Myde's lips, they sent a chill up and down the prince's spine. Facing the bandits again would almost be better in his mind. He got the feeling that their water supply would now be the least of their worries. After making sure that Illusion's take was all secure, Zexion pulled himself up into his saddle. "Well, there is no use in delaying the inevitable."

Thanks to the newfound comfort between them, little was said between them as they began their journey once again. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that they had just spent close to three days underground in cooler air, but they both found the heat even more extreme than before. Along with the fact that they had one less water skin, the prince knew that it would be even more important for them to ration their water than before. There was no doubt in his mind that when Myde said that this water would have to last until they made it to the temple, he was telling the truth.

Halfway through the morning, Zexion noticed that his guide had become completely silent, an anxiousness in his movements that he had never seen there before. It only had appeared over the past couple of days, whenever they realized that their journey was coming to an end. Maybe it had something to do with the things they would still encounter, but the slate haired man couldn't be sure.

"Myde?" the prince questioned, urging Illusion to walk along side Melody.

The blond sat up suddenly straighter in his saddle, looking around as if trying to figure out where the sound came from. Finally his eyes came to rest on Zexion, a panic that had hazed them over finally breaking, if only temporarily. "Oh, I'm sorry, Zexion. I guess I was just lost in thought there."

"Is everything alright?" the prince asked, wondering why the minstrel had become so distant so suddenly. Was it something that he had said?

Myde let out an airy chuckle. "I'm sorry. I've just got a very uneasy feeling now that we are getting closer to the temple."

The slate haired man knew that there had to be more that the blond wasn't sharing, but he chose not to push the subject. Honestly, Zexion was getting used to Myde's secretive nature. It seemed that the minstrel really didn't want anyone to know his past, and that was something that the prince respected. After all, it wasn't any of his business. He was only interested to sate his own curiosity.

During their noon rest, the blond continued his silence, but still plucked out a soothing melody for the prince on his lute. They shared their meal of unleven bread, something that Zexion had made with the dried grains and berries while they had stayed in the cavern. It was something different than the journey bread and traveller's rations that they had been living off of for the past week at least.

Silence continued for the rest of the afternoon, and it began to wear at Zexion's nerves. Had this been what the first day of their journey together had been like for Myde? If it had been, then the prince could completely understand why the blond had spent the day singing and reciting stories to no one in particular. Unfortunately, Zexion had neither the desire nor the talents to do either of those, so he just added to the silence as they continued through the darkening forest. Even though the trees and foliage were growing thicker as they rode deeper into the wood, it did nothing do protect them from the heat that continued to plague them. Though it wasn't the hottest day that they had been travelling, it still wasn't a pleasant day.

As dusk began to fall, Myde still had yet to speak, causing the prince even more frustration. Even the way towards the intended campsite was more pointed out than verbally told. After this journey, Zexion swore that he would never go silent while travelling with others. This was infuriating! The blond lead them to a slightly sheltered area that was up against the mountain side. It was clear of most trees, the sky easily visible through the boughs. As they stood silently grooming their horses, the prince attempted to think of a subject to break the silence with, but continuously came up with nothing. Anything he thought of sounded forced or downright stupid.

Myde finished with Melody first, so his next task was to pour out the horse's ration of water. The prince then began to pull out what he could for a small meal for them. He had gotten so used to having a fire around for the past few days. Now they were once again avoiding fires due to the fact that the forests were just so dry that a single spark would send the flames roaring through with nothing to stop them. The minstrel sat down against the rock after making sure that Melody and Illusion had access to their water and grain. At least the night air was cooling at least slightly, enough for their horses to have a slight respite.

"Here," the slate haired royal said softly, handing his companion a portion of dried meat and cheese along with a ration skin of water. The minstrel took it all with a gentle smile, but still no words were said. They ate their meager meal in silence, both men quickly getting used to the dark. The moon was bright and illuminated their makeshift campsite well. The quiet was bordering on unnerving for Zexion though, who was now used to hearing songs and poems to fill the evenings. Tonight however, the prince doubted he would get much rest. The thought of those shadows lurking around out there, along with the still present sensation that didn't want to leave his body made Zexion sure of a sleepless night.

"Zexion?" Myde whispered after their meals had been devoured.

The smaller man jumped slightly at the noise before turning to face the minstrel. "Yes?"

The blond sighed in an obvious act to gather his thoughts. "I'm sorry if I have been somewhat distant today. I've got a lot on my mind right now."

Letting out a single chuckle, Zexion ran a hand through his own thick and dusty slate hair. "It's alright. I just thought I may have done something to offend you and it was my fault."

"Well, part of it is because of you," Myde admitted.

The prince paused; a little shocked at the comment. "What do you mean?"

Sighing again, the blond looked over at his companion in the dark, still clearly able to make out the fair details of his face. "I know that you're attracted to me."

Still frozen in place, the slate haired royal could hardly believe what he was hearing. How had Myde figured that out? Zexion had been sure that he hid it well, but obviously he hadn't. Was the minstrel so absolutely disgusted with him and because of it and that was the reason for his silence today? "How…?"

The blond offered a small smile to the other man, and even through the darkness he could see it. "Because I know what it's like to be attracted to another man, and one that you don't think you could ever be with. I could just tell."

Feeling his entire face burn with an embarrassed flush, Zexion couldn't help but feel his heart swell at the words. The minstrel still hadn't denied him or rejected him yet. "Really?"

Myde just nodded, "It can't happen between us though."

Those words shot straight through the prince's chest. That was it, the rejection that he had been dreading hearing. But something didn't sit well with him and he realized that Myde had never mentioned that the attraction wasn't reciprocated. "Why not?" Zexion heard the airy tone of his own voice and winced, earning a light chuckle from his companion.

"You're a prince! I'd be hanged if we were found out!" exclaimed the blond.

The prince heard the excuse and rolled his eyes. That was what he wanted to hear anyway. Obviously Myde was feeling the pull of attraction for him too, a thought that made the slate haired royal want to burst. Outwardly though, he remained calm and wasted no time in standing up and walking over to the blond. "And who is to say that anyone would find out about it? Who would catch us here?" Zexion whispered as he sat back down beside the minstrel. In a bold move that was so unlike him, the prince then gently laid his head on the inviting shoulder of the blond.

It seemed as if that was the only thing that was holding Myde back. In an instant, he wrapped his arms tightly around the prince, pulling him in close. Zexion was not surprised at the action but was caught slightly off guard. He had no idea that Myde felt this way, not that he was complaining. He could feel the body heat that just radiated off of the blond and despite the warmth that was still in the air around them, the prince found comfort in the feeling. "How long have you felt this way?"

The minstrel chuckled lightly as he nuzzled his nose into the slate hair that still smelled like the herbs that Zexion had used in their wash water last night. "Since the day that I came to Heartial during the harvest festival four years ago when I saw you and your brothers giving speeches at opening festivities."

Cobalt eyes went wide at the information as he made the mental connections. "Was I the unobtainable man?"

"I didn't accept this quest for the guilda. Or because I have been to the temple…" the blond confessed, making Zexion's heart swell.

The prince couldn't believe what he was hearing. It all just was slightly overwhelming at the moment, but being wrapped in the blond's arms served to ground him and confirm that this was all indeed happening and not a dream. It all did seem to be a little too good to be true, but who was he to deny these feelings? It didn't matter to Zexion that after this journey there was a good chance that he would never see the minstrel again, but at the moment, that was the least of his cares. "Myde…"

Before the name had completely left the slate haired man's lips, he found his mouth covered by the blond's moist lips. The kiss caught Zexion slightly by surprise at first, but it took no time at all for him to melt into the motions. Their lips moved together as the prince's eyes slid close and he leaned further into the minstrel's hold. He was having a hard time believing that this was actually happening. Myde's lips massaged his own and it surprised the slate haired royal just how soft they were. It wasn't until the blond began to take Zexion's own bottom lip between his own that the smaller man fell fully into the kiss. When the prince finally began to kiss back, Myde smiled a little into their joining, knowing that he had full control over the situation.

When the minstrel began to part his lips to deepen this kiss at the same time as he reached one hand up to tangle in Zexion's chin length slate hair, the prince suddenly pulled away. In confusion, the blond looked into his companion's face, surprised to see a light glaze of fear hanging over the younger man's features. "I'm sorry! I'm moving too fast, aren't I?" that was the last thing that the minstrel wanted – to scare the smaller man off.

Instantly the slate haired man began to shake his head in denial. "No I want this, I really do," he whispered, his voice husky. "I'm just wondering if it is safe for us to do this out here with the Black Shadows around."

Myde let out a breath that was half chuckle and half sigh of relief. "You had me scared for a moment," he chuckled. "I don't know what it is, but there is something about this place that makes me feel as if it is safe here. And I think that Melody and Illusion would be able to warn us if something was lurking around."

"Are you sure?" Zexion whispered as he leaned into the hand that was pressed against his cheek. He wasn't trying to make excuses as to reasons to not give into his desires with Myde, but he wanted to make sure that nothing would happen to them and they would stay safe.

Placing a soft kiss on the prince's forehead, the blond pulled the smaller man in even closer to his body. "At this point, I don't believe I could stop even if I wanted to," the words were airy as they left Myde's lips, sending shivers up and down Zexion's spine. As he turned to look into he slate haired royal's face, the minstrel was almost caught fully by surprise as he instantly found his mouth being attacked by the younger man's lips.

Unable to hold himself back, the prince eagerly began to kiss the blond, an action that was forcefully returned. This time however, Myde would not be contented by a simple press of lips and soon parted his own, excited to taste the younger man. The prince gasped at the action, giving Myde a perfect opportunity to run his tongue along dry lips. As he did, the slate haired royal reached a shaky hand up to lace his fingers through straw blond hair, pulling the minstrel firmer up against his lips.

Myde let out a stifled moan at the movement as he finally got to sample the exotic flavours he could only describe as Zexion. His tongue gently probed into the prince's mouth, gently caressing each available surface. The smaller man responded in turn by massaging the intruding organ with his own. When they finally pulled apart, their breaths mingled, hearts beating rapidly. The prince could already feel the blood rushing downwards to his groin. He had never felt this intensely about anyone else before and knew that no matter what Myde would want to do to him, the slate haired royal would allow it.

As soon as the minstrel engaged him in another passionate kiss, the prince felt himself being leaned backwards. He held tightly to the taller man before he laid back on the rough and dry grass, allowing Myde to ravage his mouth. Feeling the comfortable weight pressing against him just caused more of Zexion's blood to rush southwards. When he felt the blond's hands griping at his hips tightly, the prince could not resist the natural reaction of rolling his pelvis upwards. That movement earned another deep moan from Myde as he once again broke the kiss. Tentatively, the minstrel began to thrust his body downwards and against the slate haired man's allowing them both to recognize the arousal that they both held.

Myde laid his forehead against the prince's, the sweat from the long hot ride today along with the excitement of this making both their skin slick. Their bodies continued to rock together at a gentle pace, the blond allowed himself the chance to look into Zexion's lust hazed eyes, relieved when he saw no fear or hesitation in the endless cobalt orbs. "Zexion, if I go further, I won't be able to stop," he whispered, giving a particularly harsh thrust downwards as he spoke.

The pleasure began to cloud both Zexion's thoughts and reason as he let out a short gasp at the contact. He had never felt this way before. "Yes, please do it! I want this," whispered the prince as he pulled Myde's face back down and drew him into a kiss that left both men gasping for breath. Their bodies continued to move together and despite the heat in the air around them, a fire burned within them even hotter, but as long as they were in contact with one another, they didn't care about the oppressing warmth.

Myde made the first move, allowing his hands to slide up from their position on the prince's hips, moving them up and under the loose linen tunic, coming to rest on the heated skin of the younger man's torso. The action caused Zexion to gasp into the kiss, permitting the minstrel's tongue to slide back into his mouth. Fingertips danced up and down the slate haired man's sides, uncaring of the sweat that they encountered. They only cared about touching the pale skin that they had been taunted by since beginning this journey. The last few days in the cavern had been the hardest. Now Myde would be able to act out his desires without fear of prosecution.

Not wanting the blond to have all the fun, the prince ran his hands down over the light green tunic that covered Myde's back, grasping at the hem before pulling up desperately, the desire to feel the minstrel's skin pressed against his own becoming his only goal at the moment. Breaking the kiss that they had fallen into once again, Zexion pulled the light material off of the lithe body, throwing it onto the grass near them. As soon as the tunic had been discarded, hands once again began to roam the flat expanse on Myde's back, loving how the smooth, yet slick skin felt under his touch.

Unable to resist any longer, the minstrel gave the same treatment to Zexion's pale grey tunic, leaving them both there in only their trews and riding boots. As Myde lowered his body back down onto the smaller man', he could not resist taking a look at the pale form below him. Despite the fact that they were constantly travelling in the unyielding sun and extreme heat, the prince's skin had lost none of its paleness. It remained creamy and pristine, marred only by a few various scars left by the few battles the prince had been involved in. But there was only one word that Myde could think of to use to describe the prince: Perfection.

With them laying together like this in their current state of undress, Zexion could feel many different emotions and sensations filling him from the inside. The man above him was covered in golden tan skin and it made the slate haired man curious as to if the tan covered his entire body. Seeing the obvious arousal in the beige breeches that the Myde wore sent more shivers through the royal's body. It was a confirmation that the blond wanted this as much as he did. With his hands sliding back up to wrap around Myde's neck once more, the prince pushed their lips together harshly, nipping playfully at the full bottom lip of the minstrel.

Their chests were pressed firmly together, their sweat mixing together even more now, and it allowed the blond to feel just how rapidly Zexion's heart was beating and how fast his breaths were coming. But more importantly, Myde could easily feel the erection that the prince made no attempt to hide through the dark grey breeches. At least the slate haired royal was not ashamed of his attraction to another man. As the minstrel pressed his body once again down on the smaller man's, it caused the front of their breeches to push together. Both men hissed at the contact before their hips resumed their movements against one another. The friction sent sparks of pleasure though both men.

Zexion had a hard time containing all of his emotions. He had never felt like this about anyone before. The heat boiled through his blood, overwhelming everything else. He wanted more. No, he needed more. In such a short time he had known the blond; he had become fully infatuated with him. Gasping after a particularly harsh thrust, the prince began to scratch fiercely at the smooth back, his fingers leaving harsh red lines in their wake. The fire inside him was burning unrelentingly, and he knew that in order to extinguish the flame, there was only one thing to be done. Moaning lightly, the slate haired man ran his blunt finger nails down the entire length of the minstrel's back until his hands came down to the waist of the cream coloured trews that Myde wore. In desperation, Zexion forced his hands under the material so that they came to rest on the smooth globes of the blond's buttocks.

At the contact, the minstrel couldn't help but thrust his hips down more, the feeling of the prince's hands kneading the firm muscles driving his movements even more. Never being a patient man, the blond placed his own hands at Zexion's hips once again, this time using his thumbs to hook into the dark material. The desperation that had taken hold of them refused to let go, and was pushing them both further then they had intended. Receiving whimpered pleas from the smaller man, Myde took the hint and began to slide the breeches off of creamy pale legs, pulling the riding boots off at the same time, all the while feeling very appreciative of the sight it provided for him.

The prince could only sigh at the removal of the last of his clothing. Under any other circumstance, there would be a feeling of awkwardness at the idea of laying in the dry grass, deep in the woods, devoid of any and all clothing. With Myde there above him however, it was something that felt almost natural. His erection stood proudly out from his body, already at full hardness. A musical hum came from the blond at the sight, thoroughly impressed by the vision of the prince in such an aroused state, especially because he was the one who had brought him to such a position.

It wasn't as if he hadn't seen the prince naked before. Staying in the cavern together for three days had meant that they had been getting changed and washing around one another constantly. But he had never seen the other man aroused like this and almost wanton; not that he didn't appreciate the sight. He just continued to take in the vision of the prince naked before him, the long pale legs automatically spreading to give the minstrel an amazing view.

"Has anyone else ever seen you like this before?" the blond whispered as he began to rub the small portion of the prince's leg that was still wrapped in a bandage from the bandit attack. He could also see a large bruise on the smaller man's side where an attacker had gotten in that lucky shot on Zexion's ribs.

Blushing heavily under the intense gaze, Zexion attempted to reach down and cover his stiff member, suddenly feeling a little shy, but he was stopped by the blond's hand's grasping his wrists, pinning them on the grass beside him. With a sharp intake of breath, the prince tried to look anywhere but into the blond's face with that familiar soft smile. "No, no one," he whispered.

The minstrel's smile only widened at the admission as Myde felt an all new emotion flooding through his body. He was unable to contain himself any longer. "Then I feel honoured to be my prince's first." The quiet words caused the smaller man's blush to deepen, a look that the minstrel found completely endearing. Zexion had never felt this sort of intensity for another person, let alone another man before, or about sex in general. It surprised him just how much he was feeling for the blond. He was unable to resist anything about him. Before giving the younger man a chance to do anything, Myde reached down and pushed his own boots and breeches off, hissing when the material brushed over his own arousal.

Cobalt eyes went wide as he took in the sight of the blond above him, devoid of all clothing now. Zexion had never before seen another man around, thus had no issues with being impressed by the minstrel's naked form. His gaze automatically went to the thick penis that jutted out from the tanned body, suddenly anticipating what was about to happen. Never once did it cross the prince's mind how something so large would fit in his body. He just knew that he wanted it, and wanted it now. "Myde!" he gasped out as the taller man lowered their naked bodies together. As bare flesh connected, it sent a wave of undeniable pleasure through both men, something both of them noticed. "Please. Just do it already," the prince pleaded, "I can't take it anymore."

Slightly surprised by both the airy tone and the absolute desperation lacing the slate haired royal's words, the minstrel could only smile. He couldn't deny the smaller man anything, prince or not. So instead of continuing on with the foreplay that he had been considering, Myde reached into the closest saddle bag he could find, a task made so much more difficult by the fact that Zexion had begun grinding their hips together once again. Due to the lack of barriers now, skin rubbed against skin and sent electricity flowing through both of them. Trying desperately to focus his thoughts on his hands and not on the intense pleasure that the not-so-innocent prince was inflicting on him, Myde finally reached into the saddle bag and pulled out a small phial of herbal oil that Zexion had made while they were in the cavern. It was meant for massaging into wounds to help ease pain and stiffness, so the blond assumed that it would work for this as well.

Hearing the stopper being removed from the glass phial, the slate haired royal paused his movements, watching what the blond was doing with rapt interest. As with everything else he did, Myde's movements were graceful as he poured a large quantity of the thick oil onto his hand, spreading it thoroughly over several fingers. Pooling the excess into his palm, the minstrel offered the smaller man a soft and reassuring smile before using his non-coated hand to gently push the prince's knees apart. Zexion took the hint and spread his legs wide, giving the blond full access to his body with no questions asked. Everything just felt so right about all of this.

Myde could only smile widely at the prince's eagerness. At first he had almost thought he was taking advantage of the younger man, but now he had to wonder if Zexion was taking advantage of him. Not that he minded. After receiving another long and drawn out whimper from the cobalt eyed man, the minstrel knew he was in no position to deny his companion anything. Carefully, he began to use his fingers to explore the hidden parts of the prince's body, chuckling lightly at the tremors that racked the smaller body.

With his arms spread above him in the dry grass, Zexion gasped at the touch he had never felt before. The long fingers explored the untouched area, running up and down his crack, pressing firmly against the pucker of skin that it found there. The slate haired royal could only gasp at the pressure, anticipation, not fear, flooding through his veins. He had no misunderstanding about how two men would be able to be together, and what it would entitle. In fact, he was excited about it. He allowed Myde to take control of the situation, this way just felt more right than if their positions were reversed. As that thought crossed his mind, the prince couldn't help the loud gasp that escaped him when the minstrel added pressure to that spot, one finger entering up to the knuckle. The oil made the entrance easier, allowing the blond to pull it out slightly right away, moving it in small circles in order to spread the oil in a little better.

The taller man was surprised at how complacent the prince was to his touch, never once wincing or flinching at the entry that Myde knew from personal experience could be painful. As gently as possible, he moved his finger around, aided by the oil in an attempt to stretch the tight passage. Each movement he made enabled him to push his finger in a little further. Carefully watching the slate haired royal's face for signs of pain, he saw nothing, even as he slid a second finger in alongside the first, except pleasure there. Each time the digit moved, it caused Zexion to whimper out, his legs bending upwards more and more. He wanted this. He wanted this more than he could ever express. As the two fingers continued to probe around inside the prince's body, Myde used his free hand to take the phial of oil, pouring more onto his own neglected arousal. He dropped the glass flask before wrapping calloused fingers around his thick length, beginning to stroke it harshly in order to spread the oil further. He knew that he could no longer resist the temptation of the pale man beneath him.

When the blond felt the smaller man beginning to clench the inner muscles of his anus around his fingers, he knew that it was time to give the prince exactly what he wanted. Obviously the slate haired royal was ready for this. Slowly Myde began to ease his fingers out of the tight passage, coming across resistance from the prince who obviously wanted to keep them inside him. "Shh, you don't want to be finished before it has really started, do you?" he questioned with a small chuckle as he ran slick hands up and down the prince's thighs before taking hold of pale hips and pulling the smaller body closer to him.

Zexion let out a yelp at the rougher movement, but none the less, it still was arousing. Myde seemed to know exactly what to do to turn him on, and was doing all that and more. He could feel the heat that radiated off of the blond, and it mixed with his own as he felt his legs being laid over firm thighs. His own arousal lay leaking along his stomach, begging for a touch of some sort. When the minstrel reached down between their bodies and took hold of his own length. With very small movements, he began to rub his arousal over Zexion's stretched hole. The prince then let out a soft gasp at the contact, finally feeling the size of Myde's member and realizing how large it was. It didn't frighten the slate haired man; it turned him on to no end. He wanted to feel it inside him; he needed to feel it moving. Though he had never done this before, he still knew what was going to happen and the anticipation was running high for it.

"Are you ready?" Myde whispered gently, using the head of his penis to rub the oil around as much as he could.

Wrapping his legs around the blond's torso, the prince pulled himself closer still to the taller man, desperate for him to hurry up. He had never felt any of these emotions or sensations before, and now that he was, he couldn't get enough of them. With a whimper and a nod, Zexion began to grind his hips down, trying to take the minstrel's arousal into his body.

Letting out a chuckle at the slate haired royal's eagerness, Myde knew that they were both ready. With one hand holding the smaller body steady at the hip, he used his other hand to guide his erection into the stretched hole. He heard the prince gasp at the entrance, as the head of his penis pushed passed the tight ring of muscle. For him, the heat and tightness threatened to overwhelm him. He had never imagined it being this intense with the prince. Slowly, he continued to push in, inch by inch, until the smaller body had taken all of his length within. Myde found himself shaking at the constriction, barely finding it in himself to look down at the smaller man.

Zexion's face was contorted; a crease of pain on his brow, but the rest of his features spoke only of pleasure. His eyes were glazed over in a lust and contentment that the minstrel had never seen before. The prince needed this so much that it showed so plainly on his face. Well, who was Myde to deny anything that the prince wanted. Both hands now held tightly onto the smaller man's hips, holding him steady. Slowly, he began to pull back, the entire anal passage clamping down on his length as he did so. He knew right then and there that this would not be a long night. He wouldn't be able to last.

The prince whimpered out at the movement, loving the way the large member was stretching him to the limits. He had never thought it would feel this amazing. When he felt the length beginning to slide out, he tried to keep it inside him, using his muscles to squeeze as hard as he could. At the sensation that that created, Zexion couldn't help but moan out the minstrel's name, grinding his hips downwards in another attempt to keep the erection still inside him.

Grinning broadly at the slate haired man's reactions, Myde then slammed back into the tight body, earning more noises from the normally quiet man. The whimpers and moans fuelled him, and it was then that he knew he wouldn't be able to hold back any longer. He set a rhythm pumping in and out of the smaller body, a pace that Zexion eagerly matched, rolling his hips in time. Moving in and out of the constricting heat, everything around them seemed to disappear for Myde, other than the two of them. The pale body rocking into his, the heat that surrounded his member, the little whimpers that escaped Zexion's lips. It was all that existed to the minstrel, and he wanted to keep it that way as long as possible.

Each time that the blond thrust into the warm cavern of his prince's anus, Zexion felt the length push in deeper and deeper. Even when he could feel the heat of the minstrel's testicles cradled against the flesh of his buttocks, he wanted to feel more. Making sure to squeeze his muscles down as hard as he could every time that the length entered him, the prince felt a new heat building up inside him, one that he had never felt before. The thought of that was forgotten instantly though as a wave of unbridled pleasure rushed through him after a very hard thrust from the taller man. It was all he could do to not scream out at the intenseness of the pleasure, instead he just gasped deeper, whimpering the word 'again' over and over.

Myde knew exactly what had just happened and forcefully began to hit that spot repeatedly, wanting to bring the slate haired man to completion as soon as he could. He knew that he himself wouldn't be able to last much longer. The heat in the pit of his stomach was coming closer to its pinnacle than he would have imagined, but Myde knew that he wanted to bring Zexion to bliss before he had it for himself. Pulling up on the pale man's hips, the minstrel brought the prince into a sitting position on his lap, his length still buried deep inside the smaller man.

Zexion gasped at the movement, both at its suddenness and at the fact that it allowed the blond's member to push in further, pressing against that spot inside him continuously. It sent more pleasure than he had ever experienced before through his body, and was enhanced by the fact that his own erection was now pressed between their bodies, rubbing against their stomachs as he continued to roll down onto the thrusting hips. His arms were now wrapped around the blond's neck, holding him close. As the pleasure continued to grow towards its zenith, Zexion leaned in and captured the minstrel's lips with his own, thrusting his tongue into the warm mouth instantly. They continued to move together, their actions pushing them both towards the finish quickly.

Moaning deeply into the kiss, Myde was finally overwhelmed by the constricting heat and rhythmic squeezing along his length. Tasting the prince once more was the last thing that the minstrel needed to push him over the edge. The pleasure exploded from him, releasing in several long ribbons into the heated cavern of the slate haired royal's anal passage. He felt his body go into the expected convulsions, thrusts as hard as possible into the smaller body. Every nerve in his body seemed to be on fire and it was all he could do to keep himself upright. But he couldn't collapse yet. Not until Zexion hit his completion as well.

At the additional warmth that suddenly filled his rectum, Zexion knew that his end was near. He began to thrust his own hips down even harsher than before, arching his back to get that little extra leverage. His own arousal continued to rub over the blond's taught stomach creating that much more friction to add to his pleasure. Hearing Myde moan out his name was the last thing that the prince heard as everything went fuzzy, the pleasure bursting from him in a way that he had never experienced before. The smaller man went rigid as line after line of his white hot seed was shot onto Myde's chest, his whole body shuddering with it. Tremors continued to rack Zexion as he fell forward onto the blond, the exhaustion causing both of them to fall backwards onto the dry grass. Gasping for breath together, they just laid there, neither man wanting to move or say a word to break the silence that had surrounded them.

The prince had never felt so content, no, so complete before in his life. What he had just done with Myde was undeniably amazing. How would he be able to live without it when they went back to Heartial? But could he confess just how much he felt to the blond without scaring him off? Zexion felt like a heartsick maiden, never wanting to let go of the first man he had. Everything that had just happened though felt so right. Like it was meant to be this way. Unforgotten until now, the strange feeling inside of him returned in full force to the prince, causing his blood to sing with more than just the sex and resulting pleasure. So many thoughts were running through his mind, and for the first time, Zexion couldn't begin to sort them out.

Long arms wrapped around him, pulling his sweat slicked body closer to Myde. "Shh," the blond whispered, placing a soft kiss onto mused slate hair. It wasn't until that moment that Zexion realized that his thoughts and fears had taken the form of silent sobs.

"Myde, I swear…it's not…it's just that…"unable to finish any thought out loud, the prince was surprised when he heard the minstrel chuckle.

"It's alright. A lot has happened today. Get some sleep. I will wake you when it's time for your watch. This was harder on your body than it was on mine. You rest. We can talk about it in the morning," he said with the small smile that Zexion had come to adore.

Only able to give a short nod, the prince winced a little as the softening length was gently pulled out of his body and Myde reached to grab one of the saddle blankets to throw over the two of them. Even though it was still warm out, the drying sweat on their bodies was cooling quickly, and the last thing either of them needed was to get ill this close to the temple. With all the thoughts that were clouding his mind, the slate haired man thought that he would have a difficult time finding rest and sleep this night, but as soon as his eyes closed and his head was laid on the broad shoulder of the minstrel, Zexion found himself drifting off into a dreamless sleep.

Zexion snuggled closer into the source of the heat he was currently pressed against, uncaring that the air around him was still just as warm. Though his eyes remained pressed tightly closed, the prince could tell that it was only shortly before dawn. He had slept through most of the night. A wave of panic began to flood his mind and all at once, he began to sit up, open his eyes and wake up. His body on the other hand had other idea. He was unable to sit up due to the arm that was slung over his naked hip, but at the first movement, his body protested by sending a sharp flash of pain all along his spine. That reminded the prince of the activities of the night before, a blush covering his entire body at the thought.

A deep chuckle came from the man he was still pressed against, confirming that it was indeed Myde. "Good morning, Zexion," the soft voice whispered, the arm around his hip pulling him in closer.

"Why didn't you wake me earlier? I could have taken watch so that you could have rested. Now I feel bad that you stayed away all night," the slate haired man said, worried for Myde.

The chuckle sounded again, "I'm perfectly fine. I don't need sleep to rest. Besides, I had things to think about and obviously you needed the sleep more," the blond then placed a soft kiss atop the sleep tousled slate hair. "How are you feeling this morning?"

As if the words triggered something, another wave of pain passed through Zexion's spine, but it wasn't as bad as he had thought it was going to be. "Actually, it's not that bad. I can probably mix up a potion to take care of the pain."

Myde nodded his gaze suddenly distant once again. Zexion prayed that they wouldn't be entering a second silent day, especially not after what they shared last night. Not wanting to stay next to the minstrel if that was the case, the prince slowly began to sit up once again, this time making sure to take his time and not put too much pressure on his backside. Though it hurt him to pull away from the comfort of the blond's embrace, he knew that the day would be uncomfortable enough of a ride with Myde not speaking that he wouldn't be able to handle pain in his backside as well. When the blond made no motion to stop him from moving, or say anything even when he had made it all the way to the saddle bags, Zexion felt his heart sink. Maybe he had been reading too far into this and Myde's feelings didn't run as deeply as his. Perhaps he had missed a sign that the minstrel had sent him telling him that this was only going to be a one-time thing.

The silence continued on for a while, until the prince had begun to systematically measure out amounts of the different herbs that he would need for his potion. "Zexion?" the musical voice startled the slate haired royal, but as always, he hid his surprise well, only looking up briefly at the blond.

"What is it?" the smaller man asked him in a slightly cold tone. If he was going to be treated coldly, he would treat Myde the exact same way, despite the hurt it caused him.

Wincing at the chill to the prince's words, Myde figured he kind of deserved to be treated like that right now. "I'm sorry if I have been distant lately. I just had some things that I needed to think over."

The prince just nodded, still giving the other man little acknowledgement. He would not be played as a fool, nor be used. He was the sixth prince of Heartial, son of the High King Xemnas. He did not deserve to be treated like that by anyone. Unless Myde was able to provide a good enough reason as to his behaviour, Zexion would forget last night's events and move things back to a platonic level with the minstrel. No matter how he truly felt. Even the strange sensation that continued to flow through his body flared up in anger at the thought of shutting Myde out, but the prince just ignored it.

Myde sighed. He had known he had gone about this the completely wrong way, but he really had no other choice. Hopefully Zexion would understand when he explained things. He would be breaking enough oaths as it was to explain, but he had to tell Zexion now before he found out on his own and jumped to his own conclusions. Taking in a deep breath, he stood up, completely uncaring of his nakedness in the predawn light. Coming to stand next to the smaller man, the blond placed a hand on the prince's cheek, forcing their eyes to meet and lock. He could see so many nameless emotions swirling in the formerly cold and uncaring cobalt eyes. "I haven't exactly been honest with you, my prince."

Zexion sighed, not at all happy with the minstrel's manner of approaching the subject. "About what?"

"My identity." The answer hung in the air between them like a cloud. The prince then lowered the herbs he was mixing and stared over at the other man in disbelief.

"How so?" An uneasy feeling began to spread through the slate haired royal at the multitude of possible directions that this could go. Strongest of all, the strangest sensation began to burn with no explanation.

The minstrel picked up the small dagger from the apothecary kit and began to examine it. "Only a few others know what I am about to tell you. There is a reason why we have found so many water sources while on this journey and why I was able to find the water temple before."

Zexion schooled his emotions to hide his surprise, ignoring his herbs and the buzzing in his blood to focus on Myde's words. "Why?"

A nervous chuckle escaped from the blond as the dry grass crunched underneath him as he settled on the ground, shifting nervously. "I know that you have been told, taught and raised to believe that natural magic has been lost to Orgida. But it hasn't been. It still exists in some people. I am one of them. I have the ability to control water. I am a water mage."

The prince couldn't believe what he was hearing. Could Myde really be telling the truth? Orgida hadn't known true magic for centuries, and now this man was claiming to be one of the lost mages? "How do I know that you are telling the truth?" Zexion whispered, feeling slightly afraid of the blond minstrel at the moment. But despite the fear that he was feeling, all he wanted was to be wrapped in those long, strong arms once again.

Myde just smiled. "Well, first off, I can't produce water. That's the most important thing. I can sense and control it though. That's how I have been able to find the various water spots on this journey, like the one the first night. I was able to keep it from drying up for some time too. Here, hand me a water skin and I will show you." The minstrel had a wide grin on his face and suddenly seemed a little more at ease than before. Cupping his hand, the blond poured a very small amount – all that could be spared- into his hand. With a flash that made his aqua eyes turn greener than before, the water rose out of his hand in a perfect sphere.

The prince watched on in amazement as the small sphere began to move around, all the while Myde keeping his hand raised, but never moving. Then with no more than a flicker of bright eyes, the minstrel directed the water back into the canteen, never spilling a drop. The smaller man had no need to ask about purifying the water, because as soon as the thought crossed his mind, Myde tipped his hand over sideways, sand and sediment falling onto the dry grass. Obviously that was another of his skills that he had been using secretly through this journey. When the blond looked shyly back at the prince to gauge his reaction, he was unsurprised to see Zexion staring at him with his mouth a gape and cobalt eyes wide.

"Zexion," he whispered, hoping that he hadn't truly frightened the prince. He had no idea what the slate haired royal may think of this, let alone what Myde was about to tell him next.

With a quick shake of his head, the smaller man looked over at the minstrel. "I always knew that magic still had to exist in Orgida," As he spoke, Zexion continued to mix together his concoction, leaning back into Myde's chest when he moved back to sit behind the prince and relishing in the warmth that came from him. There was just something different about the heat that the blond produced and the heat of the day.

Myde just smiled gently as he wrapped his arms tightly around the petit prince, "And how did you know?"

Zexion shrugged, "Chronicles, tales, histories. Things like that. A force that strong cannot just vanish instantly. It may have receded greatly in the population, but it still had to have some existence. But why do you hide it? I believe that it is a wonderful gift. Shouldn't it be shared?" the prince then lifted his mortar up and sniffed the contents. He added a few more pinches of herbs along with the very least amount of water followed before he continued with his mixing.

A silence fell between them once again, though this one didn't have the awkwardness of before, but pensiveness. Eventually, Myde sighed just as the prince tipped the contents of his potion into his mouth, wincing at the potent flavour. "Zexion, what I say to you now, I say meaning no offence to you or your kin. Nor do I want you to think that I don't like our king, your father."

Taking a bare sip of water to rid his mouth of the bitter taste of the potion, the slate haired man raised an eyebrow. What would cause the blond to say something like that? "Alright…"he trailed off, waiting for the minstrel to continue.

"King Xemnas is a very power hungry ruler. We all know that he plans to invade both Desteria and Mastern in the next several years. If he knew of true magic still existing in Orgida, where do you think the mages would end up?" the blond paused, burying his nose into the prince's hair and inhaling deeply, taking in the rich smell that could only be named as 'Zexion'. "We'd end up on the front lines, expected to be in full combat. Our powers don't work like that. Mages can't use their powers for things like that, but that wouldn't matter. If we refused, we'd be killed. If we stayed there, we'd die in combat. People would start expecting the impossible from us. They'd want us water mages to end this drought and produce water out of thin air. Mages can't do that. We don't have that amount of power. We'd end up hiding who we are even more than now, but we would be prosecuted and forced into exile. No, things are better this way," he finished, a sad tone in his musical voice.

Zexion couldn't help but agree. He knew his father, and that would be exactly what would happen. Unfortunately, some of his bothers, namely Kadaj and Sephiroth would most likely share his father's views. Maybe things would be different when Riku was king, but that would still be a long way off. "I understand," the slate haired royal nodded just as the sun began to flood her first rays over the waking earth. That was the sign that the two of them were to begin moving for the day.

During their ride that day, Myde began to tell Zexion about his mage craft, the details, about the different elements and the restrictions that their powers held. The prince found the subject more fascinating than anything else he had ever learned, the sensation flowing through him enlightening even more with every new fact that he learned. It all seemed to strike chords deep within him, but why?

"Is there ever a mage that has power over more than one element?" the prince questioned as the sun disappeared behind the mountains behind them, darkness beginning to cover the land despite it not even being close to sunset yet.

The grin that formed on the minstrel's face was the playful one that Zexion had gotten used to during the journey. It was the one that meant that his question would be answered – with an answer that would bring up more questions than it answered. "He is the rarest sort of mage. A true sorcerer. I've never heard of another true sorcerer since the legendary Yen Sid. A sorcerer's power will be greater than any four mages combined. He is able to manipulate and conjure any element. A sorcerer is able to transmute anything, and create anything. But it does come at a price."

Zexion found himself unable to reply to the answer. Everyone knew of Yen Sid. In his older age, he had lost all control of his powers and his sanity. He locked himself in a tower in the middle of a dense forest, no entrance or exit in the tower at all. He had sealed himself in there. One day, everything had become too much for him, and his powers devoured him. It left a circle of destruction surrounding the tower a mile wide, though the tower itself was unscathed. Even today, nothing grew in The Ring, as it was known, the inaccessible tower remaining untouched in the centre centuries later. Thoughts of that event had always frightened Zexion, even today. And it didn't help that the buzzing in his blood seemed to react adversely to those thoughts as well.

"Do all sorcerers succumb to insanity like Yen Sid did?"

Offering a small smile that was full of so many different emotions, Myde moved Melody so that she trotted directly alongside Illusion. Reaching his hand out, he gently touched the slate haired man's thigh. "No. Traditionally the Gods intervene and train sorcerers, keeping them from insanity. Yen Sid denied the Gods in his old age, feeling as if he could challenge them. They have powers that are incomprehensible. It was in that that he lost hold of himself and went insane.

Surprisingly enough, it seemed as if the prince sighed out in what sounded like relief. But that was not what was on Myde's mind any more.

"Do you think that we should call it a night and set up camp now?" Myde's voice was already husky and it sent shivers up and down the smaller man's spine. He knew exactly what the blond wanted, and honestly, he wouldn't be able to resist. Nor did he want to. After all, tomorrow they would finally make it the temple. Zexion wasn't sure how he felt about that. So he would follow the only feelings that he understood at the moment. And those feelings told him to enjoy one final night with Myde.

The night was spent with few words, no interruptions and many hours of long love making. Neither man slept as they relished in the last night they would spend on their way to the temple. They would be together as well for the journey home, but for some reason, Zexion got the feeling that that might not be the case. It wasn't like he thought the blond was still hiding something from him, but something just nagged at the back of his mind. As they laid there in the darkness of the night, the only sound was Myde's voice telling the prince new tales of his adventures with his mage craft, many of them involving his closest friend, a fire mage by the name of Axel who worked as a blacksmith in Heartial. The heat no longer bothered Zexion. He was used to that as much as he could be, but he felt completely restless, dreading, yet anticipating the morning. He wanted to finally make it the temple and end the drought, but he didn't want to end the journey.

When the sun finally began to lighten the sky, the two men silently began to pack up their camp. Myde gave their horses hopefully their final ration of water as Zexion prepared another dose of potion for himself. Today however, the silence was not awkward, but almost mournful in a way. Both of them knew that their journey was coming to an end. They continued to exchange small touches and words of affection as they packed up their dust covered camp, neither man able to go long now without some sort of contact from the other. The prince drank down his bitter potion, hoping to feel the effects quickly. Myde hadn't been exactly gentle last night, but it had been at Zexion's insistence.

They were saddled up and on the road before the sun had a chance to fully rise. Though the forest was growing thicker with every passing moment, they didn't slow their pace. They travelled as fast as Melody and Illusion could go. Thankfully both men were used to travelling through thick brush, so it had no effect on their travels. Once or twice, easily swore that he could see inky black figures darting around in the undergrowth.

"What are those things?" the slate haired man whispered, feeling afraid that if he spoke any louder, he would draw the shadows to them.

Myde cursed quietly at the movement. "Black shadows. I knew we were bound to see them at some point. Please listen when I say that they may be small, but they are dangerous. Please keep alert and have a weapon nearby. And whatever you do, don't look into their eyes." There was seriousness to the minstrel's voice that took Zexion completely by surprise. Carefully, he undid several of the restraining straps that held his long sword to his saddle, making sure it was easy to draw.

The journey continued to be silent as the light was almost completely blocked by the thick trees, giving truth to the name Black Wood. The trees however couldn't block out the heat and humidity. Now that his secret was out, Myde was able to conjure up a small orb of pure energy that gave off enough light so that they could at least see where they were going. For some reason, the display of magic didn't startle or surprise the prince at all. Despite the fact that this was the first time he had had ever seen true magic being used, it was something that seemed to be so natural and resonated with the strange feeling that still hadn't faded at all. The display actually seemed to be calming to him. More than once he watched the light bob up and down only to feel slightly jealous of the ability and power.

"We're really close now," Myde said after what seemed like hours of travelling in silence. The heat had become almost completely unbearable in the past several miles, the sweat just poured off of both men. Illusion and Melody were both covered in the frothy sweat as well. If they didn't make it to the temple today, Zexion was afraid that they wouldn't make it at all. There was nothing to be seen around them now, the only light came from the small ball that hovered above Melody's head. It was no surprise as to why the temple remained hidden. You would have to be a water mage like Myde to be able to find it.

A rustling from off to one side caused the prince's attention to follow the noise. Unable to hide his surprise, he gasped. "What in the name of the seven heavens…" he whispered, seeing several sulphuric yellow orbs hovering in the blackness in an oddly hypnotic manner.

"No!" Myde cried, but the prince could not find it in him to look away. Even though Illusion tried to move away and became restless under him, Zexion held her firm, completely mesmerized by the strange, glowing spheres. Just as he began to contemplate moving closer to them, the slate haired prince suddenly found something being thrown over his head, taking away the sight of those hovering orbs.

"What on earth do you think you are doing! I am a prince of Orgida!" he demanded harshly as if he hadn't been laying intimately with this man for the past two nights. Attempting to pull the cloth off of his face, Zexion began to sputter curses. They began to grow in intensity as Illusion began to move away from those attractive lights. Myde held tightly to keep the tunic over the prince's head as he held firmly onto the midnight mare's reins and led her away from this place, all the while trying to keep his own balance on Melody.

When he finally felt no more blackness in the air and no more struggles came from the smaller man, the minstrel stopped and allowed the prince to pull the cloth off his head. "Myde?" Zexion whispered meekly.

"Are you alright?" there was relief in the blond's voice as he reached over and placed a hand on the prince's thigh, squeezing gently.

Barely visible in the warm light of the mage light, Zexion's face contorted in confusion. "What happened? I remember hearing something in the woods. After that, there is nothing."

Myde let out a relieved sigh. "The Black Shadows. They capture your attention and hypnotize you. Then they pounce. That's how they catch their prey."

Cobalt eyes went wide. Had he truly put himself in danger of being attacked? Even after the warnings he had received? Myde had saved him it seemed. "Thank you," he whispered.

The minstrel offered only a bare smile. "It was nothing. Now, we should probably begin leading the horses on foot. The trail here can be treacherous. It shouldn't be more than an hour's walk though."

Once again silence encompassed them as they walked through the darkness. An hour. A day. A week. Zexion was now becoming so overwhelmed with the sweltering heat that he could no longer tell how long they were walking. He fed the last of his water rations to Illusion, saving only a few mouthfuls for himself. Temple or not, Myde needed to find them some water before the day was out or else they would be added to the growing list of causalities claimed by this drought.

Suddenly, Melody stopped in the middle of the road, almost causing Zexion and Illusion to crash into the mare and her master. "What's wrong?" the prince questioned before realizing that Myde was doubled over, pain etched onto his normally serene face. "What's wrong?" he repeated, rushing over to check on the blond, afraid that he had been attacked or hurt.

"I can't go any further," Myde gasped heavily, a hand clenched over his chest. Sweat that had nothing to do with the heat beaded over his contorted brow.

"Why not?" whispered the slate haired royal, helping the minstrel sit down.

"Glyphs. Designed to keep me out." A grimace appeared on his face with every word, as if just speaking evoked pain.

The explanation came as a surprise to the prince. "To keep you out? How are we supposed to get in there then?"

"You. Not we," corrected Myde through his pain.

"Me?" though he had heard his companion well enough, the solution came as a surprise to the prince. "No, I need you to guide me, Myde. I can't do this on my own." There was a nagging sensation deep within the smaller man that told him that if he left the minstrel now, he would never see him again. Zexion couldn't do that. Sitting down on the forests floor with the blond, he pressed his lips to the minstrel's sweat covered brow. "Please, don't make me do this on my own."

"You must," the blond whispered. "For yourself. For the kingdom. For me. I promise that I will be fine. I will be waiting here for your return. Please, Zexion, you must go now." The desperation cut right through the prince.

"How will I know what to do when I get into the temple?" he was frightened. Zexion never expected that he would need to complete this journey on his own.

"Trust me. You will know. It's in your blood."

Though the comment was cryptic, the smaller man accepted it, seeing the pain that continued to plague the minstrel. "Alright. I will be back as soon as I can be," he whispered, tears pricking at his eyes. Leaning down, the prince drew the minstrel in for a desperate kiss, stealing both of their breaths away. After several long moments, they broke apart, and after the blond gave a final promise that he would be fine and pointing out the direction the slate haired royal needed to go in to find the temple, Zexion bid his companion, no, his lover, goodbye and began his trek through the foliage, Myde's mage light following obediently behind him.

Though he would never admit it out loud, the journey towards the temple scared Zexion more than anything else he had encountered so far. How was he going to find this temple without Myde leading the way? But he knew he must. The kingdom was depending on him. As that thought clouded his mind, the small mage light flew ahead of him, leading towards a small path in the flora. The sight caused Zexion to smile softly. Apparently Myde was going to guide him even if he wasn't here physically. Each time that he reached out to touch the glowing orb that felt so much like Myde, it fluttered away, leading him on.

Eventually, the prince came to a stop, the mage light hovering in the darkness before him. Reaching a hand out, Zexion let out a curse as something sparked against his fingers. A barrier. What would he do now? How could he pass that? As if it could understand his thoughts, the mage light began to dart back and forth in a pattern. Unsure of what compelled him to do so, the prince lifted one hand up and slowly began to follow the pattern with his fingers, the sensation inside him flaring up more than ever before. Attempting to keep himself calm, Zexion couldn't help but gasp when the pattern he was drawing out on the barrier turned indigo, glowing on the barrier.

"Naxth," he breathed out as the signet was completed. The word caused his eyes to go wide. He had no idea what it meant, nor did he recall ever hearing it before. But he had known that it was necessary. After only a moment, the signet grew brighter before exploding, leaving a good sized gap in the barrier. The prince had to shield his eyes from the brightness that spilled forth from the hole. Squinting, he was able to look in only to see bright sun showering over a small stone building, sitting on the edge of a water pool. The water branched out from the pool in streams that interconnected all around the building, each of them filled with the clearest looking water the prince had ever seen. With no hesitation, Zexion forced his way through barrier, praying that Myde would be okay out there.

The first thing that Zexion noticed was that inside this barrier was that the heat had not permeated here. It wasn't cold, but it was the truest respite he had felt in months. Along with the sound of the rushing water, the slate haired man could also hear a crackling sound, but strangely enough, it sounded as if the crackling was coming from within him. There was a force at work here inside the barrier, but Zexion felt no threat from it. It actually made him feel more comfortable and welcome than he had ever felt before. The thought of Myde on the forest floor in pain fuelled the prince to hurry towards the temple entrance. Despite his desperate thirst, Zexion ignored the clear pools of water, rushing inside the temple, hoping that he could end the drought as quickly as possible. He would be able to drink when everyone else could. As he stepped over the threshold into the darkened temple, the prince could once again feel the spark in his blood, but assumed it was just the anticipation of being within reach of saving the kingdom. As soon as his eyes adjusted once again to the darkness inside the temple, Zexion had to swallow a silent scream.

Each of the dozen statues representing the Gods lining the walls of the small temple had been smashed or broken, cracks running up and down the walls in every direction. Large slabs of stone from the ceiling rested in various parts of the floor, making it difficult to navigate around the small room. At the very back of the temple on a raised dais, was a decapitated statue of who Zexion assumed to be the Water God himself, holding what was left of a large marble basin. Most of the basin lay in pieces on the ground below it, broken into thousands of small pieces. What on earth had happened here? Who would do such a thing to the house of a God? Powerless to contain his anguish, Zexion fell to his knees, unable to tear his eyes away from the scene of destruction before him. Would the Water God still be able to hear his prayers if he prayed in the ravaged temple? Honestly, he had no choice. He had to try, not for himself, but for all the citizens of the kingdom.

With the strange sensation still flowing through his body without explanation, Zexion forced himself to his feet and made his way up to the dais. He must succeed or else they would all be dead. As he kneeled down, this time in a more controlled manner, the prince wished for his heart to beat slower. The fate of the entire kingdom rested on him now. As he looked at the broken basin, Zexion felts something stronger than ever before inside him beginning to boil. Reaching on hand out, he placed it on the smashed pieces of the basin and whispered "Terune." As the unfamiliar word fell from his lips, the prince felt the bubbling force within him gather at his fingertips, seemingly pushing outwards. In an instant the pieces of the basin floated upwards, glowing a little before seeming themselves back together.

Though he knew he should be slightly afraid of this power, the power itself seemed to calm him and explain itself. It explained in an instant so many things: His natural apothecary skills, his insatiable lust for the chronicles and tales of magic, and so many unexplainable events that had been happening around Zexion all his life. It also explained the sudden knowledge he had of words and incantations he had never heard before.

He was a sorcerer. That was the force that he had been feeling in his blood lately. It was his powers awakening. It really didn't come as much of a surprise to him. It had always been there, albeit dormant and untrained, but there. It was the reason why he was always so different than everyone else, never fitting in with anyone. It was a sudden explanation for so much of his life and things that had been happening to him since childhood. Maybe this was the true reason for his being chosen as the one to come to the temple. Looking at the newly repaired basin, he was suddenly compelled to speak. "Talier susit heilor. Y claud ut hie. Jiflest." The words flowed from him, their origin and meaning unknown, but their purpose not.

"Young sorcerer," A voice boomed from everywhere by nowhere, sending Zexion jumping backwards in surprise. He hadn't thought that the prayer would have been answered that fast. "You have yet to come fully into your powers, yet you already seek aid from the gods. What need has brought you here?"

Despite being frightened beyond all measure, the prince knew that he would have to answer the voice- which he knew had to belong to the Water God himself. Taking in several shaky breath, he once again fold his hands into a pray position. "I come to seek aid and guidance from you, oh powerful Water God. I seek aid for my kingdom. A drought has covered this land, killing many. We have exhausted our resources and plead for your assistance. I also seek your guidance to train this new power within me, preventing me from travelling the same path as Yen Sid."

There was a silence around him again, and it allowed panic to rush into the prince. Had he offended the God? He remained both quiet and still, hoping that the voice would return. He wasn't sure why he had asked the God for guidance in the sorcery arts, but it helped ease Zexion's fear of the magic he never knew existed before now. Not to mention the possibility of losing the hold on his sanity and powers frightened him to no end.

"Guidance is freely given to those to ask of it and are favoured by the gods," the voice said, sending a wave of relief through the slate haired prince. "As for the aid, I have heard your prayer, Young Sorcerer."

"Please help this kingdom be free," whispered Zexion.

"I, son of Ifrit, born of Shiva will grant your requests. You put your kingdom and its people before your own needs and the Gods respect that. Go now. Rejoice in the rainfall. Go to your companion. I shall find you when guidance is needed." The voice then faded instantly and as it did; the entire temple was swallowed in a blanket of harsh light, almost stinging Zexion as it washed over him, causing him to fall backwards again. When the flash suddenly subsided as quickly as it started, it took Zexion a few moments to recover. As soon as he did, a loud and unmistakable rumble could be heard outside. Prying his eyes open, a second surprise awaited the prince as he saw the statues all restored, along with the entire temple, to their former glory. A burning sensation sparked along his fingers which made the prince wonder if it had been him who had caused the change in the state of things here. The sooner he received guidance from the Water God in the use of his powers, the better.

Another crack of thunder just about shook the small temple on its foundation. Suddenly all that mattered to Zexion was returning to Myde. Lifting himself off the floor of the temple, the prince found his legs slightly unsteady. Looking around the temple, Zexion felt something different in the air here, though he couldn't put his finger on what it might be. All he knew was that it made the newly awakened powers that ran through his blood sing louder than ever. It still frightened him, the thought of having all this power and never knowing of it. Though it would explain the words, no the spells, that had been coming to him so naturally lately. But it raised the questions as to why it had taken so long for the magic to manifest. But those questions could wait. All that he could think about right now was Myde and the fact that he could still be doubled over and helpless from the pain. Bracing himself against the wall, Zexion could only hope that with the temple restored, it would cause the glyphs that hurt his minstrel to fade. As fast as he could, the prince exited the small temple, still wondering if all of this had just happened.

The first thing that Zexion noticed when he finally got out into the open air once again was that the barrier that had been surrounding the temple seemed to be gone. And along with it, the darkness that had filled the surrounding forest. With each step that he made outside the temple walls, the slate haired made found his strength returning. Each step brought him closer to being reunited with Myde; urgency filled him at the thought of the blond. The prince barely even registered the rumbling thunder or the clouds that suddenly blanketed the sky. The first few rain drops fell as Zexion passed over the now gone barrier, feeling cool on Zexion's heated skin. Everything around him seemed to hum as the rain began to pour down faster and faster, soaking it all.

Though it was now fully illuminated in the woods, the prince had a hard time finding his way back to where he had left the minstrel. Hoping that he wouldn't end up hurting anyone, he stopped in the middle of the pathway, his hands folded in front of him. As he stood there, concentrating on thoughts of Myde, the words came to him as they had been all day. "Fesh Racor," he whispered with a picture of a smiling Myde firmly in his mind. With absolutely no warning, a ball of light suddenly burst into existence right above his folded hands. Jumping back out of surprise, Zexion wondered if it had been the Water God that had been providing the incantations for him. Not wanting to question the will of the Gods, the prince told the light to find Myde.

Shooting off in one direction, the ball of light left a faint trail in its wake for Zexion to follow. With his heart beating rapidly at the thought of having just willingly preformed magic, the prince gave chase to the light, hoping that he wasn't too late. The rains began coming down faster and harder and by the time that the slate haired man saw the outline of Illusion standing there in the now brightened forests, he was almost drenched. It felt so good after so many long months of the unrelenting heat, but Zexion knew that there would be no relief for him until he saw Myde once again. Desperation lent him one final burst of speed as he made his way to where Illusion and Melody were tied to low hanging branches, grazing on the dead grass. As he got closer and closer, a sense of dread began to fill Zexion.

As soon as he came to rest beside his mare, the prince felt every bit of strength leave his body. Where he had left Myde laying, propped up against a tree, there was no one. Myde was gone. All that remained was his lute, all the strings snapped and a giant puddle of water. Myde would never leave it like that. Searching through the downpour while repeatedly calling the minstrel's name, Zexion could find no sign of a struggle, nor any evidence that Myde had wondered off on his own. Feeling tears flowing down his cheeks, the prince silently cursed falling to his knees, pounding against the muddy ground. How could this be? Where had Myde gotten off to? Why would he leave without waiting or saying goodbye? Or had the shadows gotten to him, ignoring the horses. All this power was now flowing through Zexion's veins, but he had no idea how to use it, let alone how to make it find his lover. And of course that little voice that had been instructing him and providing the incantations when he needed them was suddenly silent. How could he be feeling so broken hearted and shattered after knowing the man for so little time? The prince felt as if his entire soul was being torn out and he had no way to fix it. He couldn't find the strength to stand, nor do anything but sit there, crouched over, pouring his emotions into tears that the rain washed away.

"Zexion?" a whispered voice said, a loud clasp of thunder following, causing the prince to sit up straight. How? Where was that voice coming from? Looking around frantically, the prince let out a shaky laugh of relief when he saw the minstrel walking towards him. For some reason though, the blond seemed to have changed into a light green blue tunic that brought out the multitude of colours in his eyes, and a pair of dark brown trews. Strangely enough though; the minstrel was in bare feet now, his boots nowhere to be seen. Had the prince been worried because Myde had only been behind the bushes changing? Then again, if that had been the case, wouldn't the blond have answered when Zexion called him?

"Myde," he sighed in relief, picking himself up off the ground, ignoring the mud that now covered him. Myde was still here. That was all that mattered. Uselessly wiping the tears from his face, the prince began to walk towards his lover once again.

With a pained expressing, the blond held up one hand, causing Zexion to stop momentarily. "Please, no closer," he pleaded in a small voice, barely heard over the rain.

Raising one eyebrow in confusing, the prince listened, but curious as to what was happening. "Why? What's wrong, Myde?"

Myde sighed visibly and the slate haired royal suddenly felt a little colder. It must have just been because of the rain. "I've continued to lie to you, Zexion. I'm sorry."

"Lie to me? In which way?" the prince questioned, trying to resist the urge to run up to the blond.

"I'm not who I've said I am," whispered the blond, looking up and catching the gaze of those endless cobalt orbs.

At that moment, Zexion noticed that though he was standing in the pouring rain, the blond seemed to be perfectly dry. That was odd. "Then who are you?" he asked even though the power in his blood gave him an idea as to the answer.

The barefoot man then moved to close the small distance between them, laying one cold and damp hand along the prince's cheek. "Do you not know already?"

Taking in a deep breath as he leaned into the cool hand, Zexion was assaulted with scents of the ocean, a peaceful smell to be sure, and it answered his question without a doubt. "Demyx…" The Water God. Son of the Fire God, Ifrit and born of the Snow Queen Shiva. The Water God who resided in the temple he had just been in.

"I'm sorry I couldn't tell you before this," Myde-no, Demyx- said, the words echoing inside the prince's mind as well as his ears.

"Why?" he whispered.

Demyx sighed again as he began to finger the strands of the smaller man's hair. "Bandits ransacked my temple nearly two centuries ago. With the Basin of Water's Edge destroyed, it forced me out of my temple and into mortal form. Once I was forced out, I was unable to return to the temple until it was restored. Only a sorcerer is able to restore a God's broken temple, returning my powers and granting me access to my temple again. Not even the other Gods are able to help." The Water God then wrapped his arms around the slate haired man, pulling him close.

"How…" there was a shake to Zexion's voce as he tried to take in all of this information at once.

"The power has resided in you since birth. It just needed the proper guidance and training. I've been guiding you in your sleep and through song since leaving Heartial, in order to awaken your powers when we arrived here."

All of a sudden, a new emotion flooded through Zexion's body. "So you used me?" he exclaimed, pushing Demyx away in anger.

"Use you? No, never!" the blond God gasped, slightly hurt by the accusation that the sorcerer had made.

"That's why you actually accepted this quest, wasn't it? Not because of me, but because you needed my powers!" the harsh words were laced deeply with hurt as the prince allowed several tears to slide down his flushed cheeks.

Suddenly the reason for Zexion's rage was clear to the Water God. "No, sooner or later, you would have discovered the temple on your own after your powers had manifested themselves. It is your destiny." As he spoke, Demyx's fingers once again began to strong along the smaller man's cheek. "You are the sorcerer. I spoke only the truth when I gave you my reason for accepting this quest," he said, trailing off into a whisper.

All of this information was beginning to overwhelm Zexion and he began to stumble backwards. The only thing that kept him from falling over was Demyx's arm wrapping around him. "Bu…but you're the Water God," he stuttered in disbelief. There was no way that all of this was really happening. "But, how? Why me?"

Demyx just chuckled as he eased them down into sitting position. "Have you never heard of the Gods falling in love with mortals? Sorcerers especially. My mother was gifted with foresight. She always spoke to me of the sorcerer who would seek me out for guidance. I always anticipated him being a powerful and worthy ally, but the moment that I learned it was you and came to see you, I knew that we would be more."

The prince suddenly began to tremble. It had nothing to do with the continuing downpour, because the moment that Demyx had touched him, all the water had disappeared off of his body. Everything was hitting him all at once and he had to wonder when it would cease to amaze him. "So, you are the one going to be training me in my mage craft?"

Nodding, the Water God just offered a small smile that sent warmth all through Zexion. "You asked me for my guidance. I said I would give it, and I stand on that."

A thought then hit the slate haired man. "But if you're no longer cast out from your temple, then will you continue to live a mortal life as Myde?"

Frowning a little, Demyx was worried how the smaller man would react to this. "No. I will need to remain in my temple for some time until all my powers are restored."

Sighing, that was exactly what Zexion had thought he'd say. "So, if I want guidance and training, I must stay here with you?"

"No, that wouldn't be necessary. I can train you through dream walking, during your sleep," Demyx said in a hushed whisper.

Both men felt a heaviness settle in their hearts at that thought. "How long will it be until I have control and mastery of my powers?" Zexion questioned, leaning into the warm embrace the God offered him as the cool rain continued to fall around them, but never seemed to touch their skin.

Demyx pulled the smaller man's head down to rest on his shoulder, stroking the soft slate strands. "For control? I'd say a year if you stay here. Mastery…a lifetime. Dream walking will probably take twice that long."

Closing his eyes, Zexion thought over what it meant staying here and training with the Water God. He then began to weigh the options of what would happen if he went back to the kingdom. It was a hard choice for him. He wanted nothing more than to stay here with Demyx, but that would mean probably not seeing his father or brothers again for the foreseeable future. But going back to them meant that he would be leaving Demyx. He thought about it for several long minutes, allowing the sound of the falling rain to sooth him, cooling him and the earth around him. Neither decision would be an easy one for him to make, but it took him a lot less time than he thought it would be to come to one. "I have decided what to do."

"And?" Demyx questioned, almost a little too eagerly.

"What you said is true. If my father knew of true magic still existing in Orgida, he would use it as a weapon, no matter who wields it, son or not. I won't put the rest of the kingdom in jeopardy because of me. I do want to inform Riku, and probably Yazoo as well, but until I gain control over these powers, I think it is best to not let my father know of them. Let him think that I sacrificed myself in order to call the rains to fall on the kingdom. When Riku takes the throne, I will consider going back to the kingdom, but for now, I think it is best that I do my training here with you," Zexion whispered, trembling, "That is, if the great and mighty Water God will guide me and have me."

The Water God could only smile as he lit up the sky with multiple flashes of lightning with a flick of the wrist to express his happiness, thunder rumbling along with a renewed downpour. "Foolish mortal," He said with a grin, "A God always gets what he wants, and this God wants you."


There we have it! I hope it has lived up to everyone's expectations! I know that this should have been broken down into like 4 chapters, but everyone loves a nice long story every once in a while, right? To Blue Pin, thanks as always for the amazing artwork that you gifted me, I still can't believe the talent that you have. I hope that this is what you wanted. I had so much fun writing it! I just couldn't stop, lol. To my Pahoyhoy and her amazing L'il Hoy, I love you so much and I can not wait to be with you again! Thanks again to everyone for the comments and reviews on this story, and congratulations on making it the end of this fic! Until next time!