Epilogue

Ja'far is good at his job.

That being said, he has always been able to work in relative quiet, with little interference and little interest directed his way. Now, it is a far different story. Now, most of parliament gives him an odd (or jealous, or admiring, or any dozen other things) look on the best of days, when normally they would scurry to their work as fast as possible. They still do that-though the women blush and the men aren't even sure what to do with him any more.

Ah, well.

It just makes him finish up his work faster-all the better, to be done and out of that building and to the privacy of his own chambers. At least, that would be the case most nights, not on the nights that Sinbad decides to throw a party (every other one lately, it seems) and without a doubt, every time, he's roped into going whether he wants to or not.

"You haaave to come," Judal wheedles at him, floating a pace behind before all but curling around his head in mid-air, his hair swishing like a cat's tail as it contemplates pouncing its prey. "Sinbad gets whiny if you don't, and he starts drinking and grabbing my chest like I have boobs."

"I really don't-"

"Also, Aladdin will be sad."

Ja'far goes.

It isn't without utilizing the fact that they are all together, though. Efficiency is key in everything, of course. "You know, Sin," he flatly intones, "now would be a good time, when they aren't locked behind a bedroom door and going at it like rabbits, to ask them to stop. Do you know how many children are going to be born in the next year? Sindria doesn't have room for this."

"Don't worry," Sinbad reassures him, taking a long swig of wine from the jug-it's not a party until they've foregone glasses, after all. "I've asked Judal to raise some land from the ocean. That will solve everything quite neatly, don't you think? The crops this year are unbelievable!"

The last is said loud enough that everyone cheers, Sharrkan sending up a cheer of "To the Magi!" echoed by all the surrounding revelers.

Aladdin's cheeks glow rosy, and he feeds a grape to a girl on his knee, and another to Judal on his other side, leaning in between as they both give him a kiss on each cheek.

"Honestly," Ja'far huffs, waving away a jug of wine that's pushed in his direction before being forced to take it anyway. "When exactly were you going to tell me this? There's quite a bit of planning involved with that, you know! I-"

It's difficult to keep chiding him when he catches sight of Alibaba, fresh-faced and livelier than Ja'far remembers seeing him in years, hauling Morgiana to her feet and insisting upon a dance. Harder still, not to laugh when another girl (or three) tries to sidle up to Aladdin, and Judal pouts like there's no tomorrow.

Sinbad waves a hand. "He's only just told me today that he can manage it. Really, it's the only safe way to expand, if we want to keep the natural water border, and I do." His smile softens, and he leans over a bit farther than he'd intended, head thunking against Ja'far's shoulder. "Ah, look at them. You know, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a child there before too long," he adds, nodding significantly at the dancing couple.

Masrur shifts uneasily.

"You're drunk," is Ja'far's impassive retort, but he reaches up to pat Sinbad's head all the same. "Don't create more problems for Alibaba, he already has a dozen to take care of before he needs to think of taking a wife. Masrur, go and ask him about his plans for Balbadd, after they're done."

"Understood."

Sinbad makes a belated grab for Masrur, who seems only too happy to go interrupt the couple. "You," he affectionately accuses Ja'far, "are no fun at parties at all."

"Should I start drooling on your shoulder? That seems to be your idea of fun."

A glance up, and notably, Judal is gone-not terribly strange, though, as the Magi does tend to leave to either throw a tantrum or dunk someone in the ocean at least once per party. "I might," Ja'far says, looking back to Sinbad, "be convinced of a dance myself, if you can contain yourself. I've heard that just close dancing is enough to bring about a child in Sindria nowadays."

"Better a fertile nation than any other kind I can think of," Sinbad declares, to another round of applause. He stands, controlling his liquor quite well in his own opinion, and bows low to his advisor. "If it would please you," he says, looking up with a sparkle in his eye, "to give me the pleasure of your company?"

"Oh, go on!" Sharrkan shouts. "Everyone knows about you two already!"

Big words, Sinbad thinks, from someone who still thinks everyone's made a hilarious mistake.

Ja'far wryly smiles, no matter the flush in his cheeks as he bows his head, offering Sinbad his hand. He probably won't ever get used to this, but he supposes so long as everyone within Sindria is happy, then what does it matter? "I would be honored, Your Majes-"

"Your Majesty! King Sinbad, Prince Alibaba!"

Ja'far nearly draws a blade at the messenger that rushes up far too quickly for his liking, and the man goes white in the face at the fleeting look in Ja'far's eyes. "A message, from Balbadd," he breathlessly says, extending the scroll.

So much for a peaceful evening, Ja'far lightly sighs.

Judal, meanwhile, is glad to miss out.

It's a different sort of headache that he has now, a throbbing, aching mess that spreads down his spine. It's the black rukh, he knows, remembers the sensation well from when he was a child, when he was still turning and it was all half-and-half, a teeming mess of black and white that would never quite settle.

This is almost worse, because it isn't quite half, and it's all the more unbalanced.

He lifts a hand to pluck at a stray, fluttery little piece of it as he dangles his feet off of a pier and into the ocean, the black rukh far more violent when caught and thrashing wildly until released. He almost misses it, the unhinged feeling that it would bring… but the sooner it's gone again, the better.

Maybe then, he will stop being watched all of the time.