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Fantasy a love/hate relationship

If Alexander didn’t have the strong warlock wine pumping through his veins at that moment, he truly would’ve never allowed himself to be as bold as he was being. The few outbursts of confidence he had before were something that he never allowed to show before, nor would he often allow it at all. Being around Nikolai brought a whole other side to him out that he didn’t know existed. It was as if knowing he was forever bonded to the man brought him an ease that changed his entire demeanor. He actually appreciated this change to himself, much preferring this new outspoken side to himself over the reclusiveness he had before.

For the first time ever, he felt truly alive. He knew that he could thank Nikolai for that feeling.

His lips molded gently against his husband’s, feeling his arms coming to wrap around his neck. His grip on his waist only tighten, allowing their bodies to press against one another. His free hand came to rest on his waist, feeling the familiar curve as his fingers dug gently into the shirt he wore. He didn’t care that his actions were a bit irrational in that moment. He didn’t care that anyone could find them at any moment. He believed they were the only two beings in the world at that moment in time and he wished to swim in that feeling for as long as he possibly could.

He adjusted his own grip in order to shake the jacket from his arms, body aching to allow the other male to do more. A sensation was overcoming him unlike anything else he had experienced before. It took a few moments for his kind to catch up to the sensation as he realized he hadn’t ever experienced anything like this before, nor had he acted on anything like this before. He slowly tilted his head back some from Nikolai’s, his breathing coming out in soft pants. His lips were hovering near his husband’s still as if he were ready to pounce on him at any moment. His cheeks were flushing darker red in that moment. It could be blamed on the wine or his excitement in that moment, but he knew it was his own embarrassment.

“Niko…” He trailed off as he tried to think just how he wanted to tell him. There truly was no good way to explain that he was a virgin, that he had never experienced this attraction before. “I haven’t ever done this with anyone before. I don’t, um…” He broke off once more, glancing around from the other male as shame overcame him. “It’s not that I don’t want to because I truly do. I just am nervous and don’t want for you to think I am terrible in the bedroom or anything.” The words rambled out much quicker than he would’ve liked. The boldness that he had not long before seemed to fade as he was quick to return to how he normally was.
In the depths of the gardens, it was quiet. Peaceful. None of the chatter and clattering of dishes from the dining hall. For a moment, Nikolai had almost forgotten where they were. He almost chased Alex’s lips the moment they started to pull away, eyes slowly opening to the sight of the flushed face. The name left his lips almost cautiously, leaving Nikolai in a bit of a confused state. His eyes watched the man’s features as he made his confession. A quiet lull settled between them for a few seconds, after which Nikolai couldn’t help but the gentle smile that molded his features..

He wasn’t surprised, of course. In fact, he’d suspected as much. Alexander wasn’t the adventurous type. If he’d confessed otherwise, that would have been more shocking. Still, Nikolai couldn’t help but feel a little bit of pressure. Being the only one with that kind of experience had never been something he’d had to deal with. He remembered being in Alex’s shoes at one point. He too had been confused, nervous…but never truly scared. Because it hadn’t been special. In truth, his first time had been a waste. And so had every single one after that. They had simply been a means of escape, sometimes unplanned rebelion.

This was entirely different.

It was a first for Nikolai too. The first time he’d sleep with someone he actually cared about. Cautiously, as if he were being careful to not scare the man away, his hands slipped away from Alex’s shoulders and cupped his cheeks, the heat of his skin feeling kind of nice against his palm. “That’s what you’re worried about?” he teased, unable to help the quiet chuckle that left him. He reached up, placing a gentle peck on Alex’s lips in hopes of easing his nerves a little. In truth, there was nothing in the world that could ruin this moment for him. He hadn’t realized it until now, but this bond with the warlock prince was exactly what Nikolai had been looking for all his life.

He just wished he could bring himself to put it into words.

“Come on-” reaching down, he took Alex’s hand, leading him away from their spot and deeper into the gardens. He’d been here enough times that he’d at least memorized where his favorite areas were. There was a small open field of flowers he remembered passing by more than once. It was beautiful, peaceful. Almost secluded. They reached it in no time.

Nikolai’s steps stopped right at the center, turning to face his now husband. “It’s not as scary as it seems…” he commented, reaching down to take the other hand. “If you’re not ready, that’s okay. Just know that you don’t have anything to worry about. Experienced or not, I still love you-”

The words left his lips even before he had the chance to process them. His head jerked up in realization, eyes rounded like dinner plates. “Uh-” suddenly, he wished they were still back where they’d started. At least there he’d have a better chance of hiding.
Alexander’s eyes darted back to Nikolai’s face as he tried to gauge the reaction he was going to receive. There had been rumors about what his husband had done before their arranged marriage, though he had done his best to not entertain them. He couldn’t help, but hear the whispers whenever he passed. He doubted that they were all true, especially with the feelings the warlocks held towards the sirens. He had heard that Nikolai could be considered rather experienced in this area and it only made him feel even worse. His confidence had never been the best in the first place.

His eyebrows furrowed when Nikolai leaned forward and placed the gentle peck to his lips, watching the smile that spread on his lips. It didn’t hold any sense of teasing or amusement behind it. Instead, it was one of the most genuine smiles that he had seen on the siren’s face. His own lips parted as he tried to form words that would better help him explain, to elaborate some more in response to his question. But every time he tried to voice them they fell flat on his tongue. He forced himself to glance away once more until he felt his hand being gently taken.

He followed silently after his husband as they walked further into the gardens. The moonlight reflected off of the petals of the flowers surrounding them as they passed, the trees rustling with a gentle breeze. He could hear the sounds of the night surrounding them. Crickets and other bugs combined with the rustling of the trees to create a beautiful melody. For a moment his embarrassment disappeared into nothing as he was reminded just how much he loved being out here during this time of the night. He was quite grateful he was able to share it with Nikolai now.

He paused when Nikolai tugged him to a stop in order to face the other male once more. “No—“ He broke off as he quickly shook his head. “No, I am ready and I want to. I want to with you Nikolai. I just wanted to let you know in case I wasn’t, y’know.” He didn’t elaborate more on the sentence as he believed he understood what he meant. It took a few moments for him to realize just what the other male had spoken.

His mouth slowly parted once more as a bright smile lit up his face. The joy he felt in that moment was clear enough to light up the sky on any day. His blue eyes were gleaming with the affection he felt for the other male. “Gods Nikolai, I love you too. I love you so much.” He whispered. He slowly pulled his hands away from the other male’s bringing them up to cup his cheeks. He then pulled him into a kiss once more.
By the time it took Nikolai’s mouth to catch up with his thoughts, Alexander was already responding. Any protest or excuse the siren could’ve come up with was immediately shot down at the sounds of his gentle words.

I love you so much-

Nikolai felt his chest swell, lips parting as if he wanted to say something, but didn’t. He wasn’t drunk, perhaps a bit tipsy, but his mind felt intoxicated by everything going on around him. Alex’s hands on his cheeks were warm. Comforting. His own hands moved up, gripping onto the sides of the warlock’s shirt. Each time they kissed, their lips seemed to fit together even better than all the times before. There was a subtle warmth in the pit of his stomach. Nikolai could easily blame it on the alcohol, but he knew better, and wine unfortunately made him a bit too honest.

It didn’t take long before his hands were once again traveling to the buttons of Alexander’s vest, pulling it off his person just like the jacket. The breeze ruffled the button up shirt as it too became undone, Nikolai’s fingers plucking at each button with perfect precision. It was clear he’d done this before. He knew Alex would figure it out almost instantly, and he could only hope it wouldn’t change anything between them.

Nikolai was careful, patient, hands guiding Alexander’s body to where it needed to be. His lips covered every inch of bare skin they could find. Their wedding attire ended up dispersed around them in the thick mattress of flowers, their bodies molded into one on the plush ground. The surrounding trees and bushes served as the only witnesses to their intimacy. As it turned out, Nikolai’s suspicion was correct. Sharing this part of him with someone he actually cared for was something far superior to any thrill he’d ever experienced.

His head rested against Alex’s chest after it was over, both of them still working to catch their breath, Alex’s suit jacket being their only form of cover. Nikolai’s gaze was fixed on one of the flowers surrounding them as his body molded itself to his husband’s for warmth. “Alex…” His voice was quiet, careful. mind still felt hazy with the events of the past few days and what they’d just done, so by the time it caught up, the words had already left his lips. “You say you love me… but why?”
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Alexander’s chest rose and fell rapidly with his breaths as he struggled to catch it, his lips parted while he did so. His expression had softened completely, eyes glimmering with joy. There were times in which he had imagined what his first time would be like, and this truly had exceeded each expectation he had. He never felt more connected with someone than he did Nikolai in that moment. An unfamiliar tug was settling in his stomach, one that tightened with each thought of his husband beside him. His mind drifted back to the rumors of mates that the warlocks whispered about. Part of him wondered if it was just another falsity, but with the confirmation of the prophecy he didn’t know what to believe anymore.

His hand was resting gently on the side of Nikolai’s head, fingers playing with the delicate strands of hair that fell into his hand. His eyes were focused on the sky above them. The gentle sounds of nature were still filling the air, though he was more focused on the sound of his own heartbeat that was thumping softly in his ears still. His eyebrows furrowed slightly as he turned his gaze to look towards his husband at the question. It wasn’t one that he had expected, but it was one that he would gladly answer.

“I don’t think I can properly encapsulate all of why I love you into words Niko. There is just so many little things about you that captivate me. I could never fully tell you each of them.” He confessed. He took in a deeper breath as he was finally catching his breath from their activities before. “You have this air of freedom to you that matches no one I have met before. I know I was rather stuck up when I first met you, but you helped bring me out of my shell. It was like you were the breeze, sweeping me away with you.” He explained, shifting to look back up to the sky once more.

“You never let any of your worries show either. Your confidence spreads to each person you are around and you have brought me so far out of my comfort zone.” His words began to speed up some as he began to ramble more. “You make me a better person and I am so grateful to have you in my life. Gods, I truly can’t say everything that I am feeling right now for you. I wish I could just give you a glimpse into my mind so you could understand what all I feel for you.” He admitted. He leaned his head down to carefully place a soft kiss to the top of his head.
When he asked the question, Nikolai hadn’t really expected much of an answer. He’d never asked that to anyone before, and wasn’t sure what he was supposed to expect. Still, Alex’s response managed to catch him off guard. He listened quietly, the humming of the warlock’s voice against his ear where he lay. The rise and fall of his chest that had initially slowed a bit began to pick up again. Halfway through Alex’s enamored confesión, Nikolai found himself smiling. He’d heard many things from many people. Compliments and insult alike, but none had ever dug so deep.

He let out a chuckle, eyes fixed on the glowing ring beside his wedding band as it shone brightly with Alexander’s emotions, overpowering his own. “I think I can get an idea…” he all but whispered. There was a beat of silence, and the smile on Nikolai’s face slowly fell. It’s possible that Alexander was blinded by this love he felt, but what would happen when that worse off? Would Nikolai’s fault begin to outweigh everything god he’d just listed?

“I’m not perfect, you know…far from it.” he muttered, not really planning to say it out loud, but deciding to go with it once he did. “You said yourself when we met…all those rumors you’ve heard.” He paused, his fingers tapping against the soft skin on Alex’s chest. “Yes there’s some exaggerations…but…a lot of those are also true.” He admitted. He didn’t think Alexander was the type to give into rumors, but if they were the truth, then they wouldn’t really be rumors or retellings.

“I’ve been treated as inferior to my sisters all my life. I understand why now…but I didn’t before.” Of course it made sense now. Why his parents preferred his sisters over him. Why Rowan specifically treated him like a pest. Why he always felt like a stranger in his own home. If he had known before, perhaps he would’ve made better choices. But that couldn’t be helped now.

“It hurt…it hurt a lot.” He admitted, the emotions becoming a bit too much to keep inside. He couldn’t stop them from spilling, no matter how much he wanted to. “I didn’t want to face that pain…so I looked for distractions. I caused trouble….I hurt people…I slept around…” the last few words floated into the breeze. After a short pause, he slowly set up, his gaze searching for Alex’s. A few quiet tears rolled down his face. “Can you really love someone like that?”
Alexander’s eyes stayed focused on Nikolai as he awaited his reaction, hoping that he hadn’t said something that would spiral him. After all they had been dealing with as of late, the two truthfully needed a few moments of peace. The light smile that had been playing on his husband’s lips was enough to ease the worry that he was lingering in his chest. He studied the lines creasing his forehead as well as the soft wrinkles near his lips. He could feel the affection swelling, his own blue eyes gleaming in the little light surrounding them. Concern started to edge its way into the affection once the smile slipped from his face. It wasn’t something that he had expected

“I know you aren’t perfect. I have known that from the moment that we met. But I am not perfect either. I do not wish to hold anything that has happened in either of our pasts against each other.” He confessed. The gentle touch of his fingers caused slightly goosebumps to raise on his chest, mingling with the cooler air beginning to cover the garden grounds. “You have never used how I treated you in the past or me losing my mind before you came back against me. You have showed me nothing but kindness and love.” He continued, hoping that Nikolai would recognize that he meant each word he said.

He shifted to slowly sit up then, the jacket covering them sliding off some as he did so. He used his right arm to support himself while he leaned over Nikolai some. The sight of the tears caused his heart to clench, a new weight settling on his chest. He brought his left hand up to gently rub he tears away as they fell. “Of course I can love someone like that. Why would that all scare me away now? You are stuck with me Nikolai.” He teased. He paused his movements to gently caress his cheek, thumb tracing the sharp edge of his cheekbone. He leaned down to place a gentle kiss to his lips.

He only lingered there for a few moments before he pulled away. “What happened in the past doesn’t matter to me anymore. I want to build our life together without any worries of what has happened in order for us to finally find happiness. You deserve every bit of happiness that I can give you Niko. I will do everything in my power to ensure that you are loved and taken care of.” His voice grew softer than, blinking as his eyebrows furrowed some. “I promise that we will never have to worry about anything like that ever again.” He assured.

The thought of the prophecy still lingered at the forefront of his mind, knowing that they would need to handle it sooner rather than later. The golden ring on his finger began to glow a light shade of blue, though he was quick to calm his mind in order for the other male to not see. He wouldn’t dare push his worries about what was to come for them onto his husband. After all, they still had a little bit of time before they needed to handle it. He had been doing the research necessary to gather more intel on how they could go about handling it. None of it had been good, but he was still holding out hope.
Something about being with Alexander brought out a side of Nikolai few people ever saw. The careful, scared child. The lonely young boy in search of affection. The parts of him that he’d long since hidden away behind his reckless lifestyle and taunting smirks. The side no one knew existed. Alex had seen it now, and somehow he was still here. Not out of obligation or royal duty, but because he wanted to.

Nikolai’s chest swelled with more emotions than he could take on as Alex spoke. The tears continued to fall silently, even after Alex’s gentle touch wiped them away, but not from sadness. His hands reached up, wrapping around the warlock’s cheeks, savoring the kiss that filled him with more peace than he ever thought a single kiss could. He almost chased those lips as they pulled away, his own dark eyes searching Alex’s.

Did he really deserve all that? Did he deserve Alexander’s love or was he simply being selfish again?

“Alex…I-“ he felt an overwhelming need to pour out his feelings, his thoughts, to share everything with this man. The good, the bad, the ugly. To spend every morning, and every night beside him. To lay in his arms until sunrise, listening to him talk about everything and anything. Nikolai swallowed the small lump in his throat. His eyes watched Alexander with every bit of affection he felt, the world bubbling up until he had no choice but to say them. This time on purpose, loud and clear to make sure Alex heard.

“I love you…” he gently tugged Alex’s face down towards his own to steal a quick kiss before adding. “I’m sorry it took me this long to say it…but I do…love you.” The words felt almost foreign coming from his own lips, but they felt right. Alexander deserved to hear them. His hands slid from their place on the others cheeks to snake around his neck, arms resting on his shoulders. “I don’t know if I deserve everything you’re giving me…but I promise I will never take it for granted.”

The breeze picked up around the gardens as Nikolai’s words mingling with it. His skin felt a bit cold, the temperature outside seeming to be dropping, but he made no attempt at moving. He would endure a bit of a cold breeze if it meant he could make this moment last longer.
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The soft touches that Nikolai gave him only served to ease his mind more, to truly concrete the belief that he would do anything to ensure that his husband was safe and loved for as long as he possibly could. Alexander’s blue eyes gleamed in the little light surrounding them, the colors seemingly having shifted to match that of the clearest of seas. His lips remained parted as he kept the small distance between their faces, the corners of them beginning to twitch up the longer he studied his expression. There truthfully wasn’t a thing about the other male that he didn’t love. It had taken a while to recognize the feelings that sparked the first day that they met. There had been an instant dork, though he originally thought it was due to hate.

Gods, he truly couldn’t believe he had been blind enough to ignore the pushing of fate.

His words only served to make his heart quicker pace in his chest, joy swelling along with it. He shook his head slightly in response to the apology that he gave. “Niko, you never need to apologize for that. I would’ve waited as long as I needed to for you. We have all of eternity after all.” He reminded. It was the one thing that he was grateful for, the one gift immortality blessed the two with. He leaned down to pepper his face with multiple kisses. He started with one cheek, moving to press one to his nose as well, and then pressed them to the other cheek. A lighthearted gesture, truly.

“I am just glad that we didn’t end up ripping each other’s throats out when we first met. Now that would’ve been quite the karmic event.” He mused, wanting to lighten the mood that had settled between them. The air had grown thicker, even with the cold breeze whipping around them. He shifted his gaze to look just past the other male before he turned his head to look around them fully. Without even saying a word, the air began to warm. His hand raised from its position on the other male’s, index finger and middle finger raised. “There, now that is much better.” He stated. It wasn’t often that he used his magic, though his parents always urged for him to whenever he could. He sometimes gained an uncomfortable feeling while doing so, as if it was building in his chest. It ached, begging to be let out. Whenever he mentioned it to a healer, they ignored the symptoms as something just in his head.

That familiar aching began once more in that moment, his expression finally beginning to twist in some discomfort. It was enough that he almost ignored the faint sound of footsteps beginning to approach them. It was only when it grew much louder and much closer that he turned to face the direction they came from. He believed that he had memorized the guard’s schedules well enough, but he clearly had been mistaken. Walking toward them were the three that did the patrols around the gardens. Their steps stopped when they grew close enough to see the two princes with only the jacket covering them.

“Our apologies, your royal highnesses. We didn’t mean to intrude.” One immediately spoke, though if they were embarrassed or horrified with what they saw it didn’t show. Alexander’s cheeks immediately flushed red and the heat surrounding them grew immensely hotter. It was almost as though he couldn’t control his magic in that moment. He shifted to hide his face into Nikolai’s chest for a few moments, knowing he wouldn’t ever live this embarrassment down. “Gods help us.” He muttered with a slight shake of his head. The situation was so bizarre that he found himself beginning to laugh. His chest immediately began to shake as laughter overtook him. The guards quickly turned them and left the two alone once more.
Even with the cold breeze, Nikolai felt a warmth within him that he hadn’t yet gotten used to. A warmth only Alexander seemed to be able to offer. The tears had already left his features, a blissful lull settling into his bones as he watched the warlock speak. He chuckled quietly, recalling their first meeting. All the anger Nikolai felt towards his parents had unintentionally been taken out on Alex. He knew he hadn’t been the most pleasant, and yet, the prince hadn’t shied away from helping when Nikolai was alone and in pain. He remembered questioning the Prince and his motives. In truth, he still didn’t know why Alexander had chosen to go look for him.

He wanted to ask, but wasn’t sure he was ready to hear the answer.

The gentle kisses washed away those thoughts for the moment, bringing out a quiet giggle from the siren. His limbs wrapped around Alexander’s body as if they were glued together, stealing a quick kiss before the man decided to play with the weather. The air around them grew warmer. Nikolai’s eyes left his husband’s face just long enough to study the surroundings before they found that face he’d grown to love so much again. He allowed an amused smirk to form his lips, feeling the need to comment something.

“Show off.” He teased, placing a kiss on the other’s lips. He pulled away in time to see the shift in Alexander’s features, his own brows furrowing slightly in concern as he took note of the discomfort. “What’s-“ the sounding of the footsteps seemed to catch them both off guard until they were already right beside them. Nikolai’s head tilted back against the ground to look past the flowers at the familiar uniforms. It was a bit too dark to see the expression on the guards’ faces clearly, but if he had to guess, he’d say finding the two princes lying in the flower field surrounded by clear evidence of what they’d done was not something the men were prepared to find on their routine stroll.

Their voices cut through the air as formal as ever while Alexander buried his face in shame. Admittedly, it wasn’t the most bizarre situation Nikolai had ever been in, but seeing Alexander’s reaction made it so much better. “We’re a little busy here, boys. Would you mind-?”

“Yes, your highness. Of course.” There was a tinge of amusement in the man’s voice as he responded, but the two didn’t say anything else. They simply turned on their heels and continued on their way. Nikolai’s head shifted again to look at Alexander’s body shaking with laughter. It didn’t take long for Nikolai himself to join in, their voices mingling with the air. Nikolai’s head laid back against the plush grass, the laughter releasing any tension he’d felt just minutes before. He could only imagine what Alexander’s face looked like right now.

“Just wait until your parents hear about this.” He teased, knowing the guards were more likely to gossip about this amongst themselves than to tell the king and queen. Still, getting Alexander flustered would never cease to amuse him. His hand rested on Alexander’s head, feeling the soft locks under his fingers. A mischievous grin formed his lips before adding. “Next time let’s do it by the fountains.”
Alexander couldn’t stop the shaking of his own body as laughs continued to control him, the joyous sound one that he didn’t often allow to escape. Truthfully, now that he thought back on it, he hadn’t smile this much in quite a long time. Nikolai was bringing out a side to himself that he loved more with each passing day. Worry still threatened to spill forward, to press its nasty claws into his joy and rip it apart. There were times where he allowed it to consume him before he dozed off in his lonely bed. But now he had Nikolai here beside him. He would have Nikolai here beside him until the end of their days. Even if the two still had struggles rapidly approaching they needed to face, he would treasure each moment that he was allowed to spend with the man he loved. With his husband.

A groan left his lips, the sound breaking through the gentle chuckling that replaced his initial laughter. “I don’t even want to think of my father’s reaction to what we just did.” He confessed with a slight shake of his head. He could feel the light touch of Nikolai’s fingers in his hair, his shoulders beginning to drop into relaxation once more. His next comment only caused for him to finally lift his head to look back to the siren prince. A smile bright enough to match the stars gleaming above them had spread onto his lips, his eyes gleaming as they had before. “You are going to be the death of me, you know that?” His words were a soft jest, one he knew Nikolai would appreciate.

“Why don’t we head inside where you don’t need to rely on my magic to keep us warm and where no guards will bother us?” He suggested as he finally fully pulled away from his husband. He immediately missed the warmth and comfort that being pressed up again him brought, but he was quick to ensure that the air surrounding them stayed warm. He planned on keeping it that way until they were safety inside. It would be the first night in quite a long while that he knew he wouldn’t be plagued by nightmares, that the visions of Nikolai’s past wouldn’t come to haunt him. At least, his optimism told him as much.

That familiar discomfort was quick to arise once more. This time he couldn’t stop the faint wincing that came when he pushed himself into a sitting position. It was strong enough that the warm air dropped around them. The cold breeze of the night was quick to curl between them. Alexander’s focus had been so drawn to the discomfort from the magic in his chest that he hadn’t realized the freezing air until he blinked. His eyes turned to look at his own arm, goosebumps and hair raised. His eyebrows furrowed as he mumbled a few words and then the air returned back to normal. He forced himself to take a few deep breaths while he moved to grab the clothes they had long since discarded. He stood carefully then.

He was quick to pull him undergarments on, followed by the tunic and pants. He didn’t bother with the vest, only grabbing his jacket. He waited patiently for Nikolai to dress as well, fingers curling into his palm as he stayed lost in thought. Part of him knew this increase in discomfort was only showing their situation was growing more dire. They would have to face this prophecy soon whether they wanted to or not. The golden ring beneath his wedding ring began to glow a deep shade of blue. He had almost forgotten that it was there and that Nikolai would be able to read his emotions without him truly wanting him to.

Once his husband was dressed, he was quick to grasp his hand within his own. His fingers curled around his husband’s, staying close to his side as their steps traced the way back to the castle. “I hate to sour the mood, but I am afraid that we are going to need to start thinking about the inevitable.” He murmured, hoping the other male understood what he meant. “Something is wrong Niko and it is only getting worse. First it was the visions and now my magic—“ He broke out, biting his bottom lip. “Ever since I was a child, there were times where my magic felt like it was swelling. I thought it might burst out of me in an uncontrollable way. That feeling faded over time, but it is getting worse again.” He tried explaining. The ring continued to glow the deep blue, his worry etching its way onto his face. “I don’t think we can hide from this all much longer.”
The warmth of Alexander’s laughter and touch was more comforting than the air around them. Nikolai’s gaze searched his husband’s, the mischievous grin still lingering after Nikolai made his comment. Perhaps he could allow himself to believe that his presence could bring Alexander happiness, not just despair.

“Yes, dear” he teased, immediately missing the other’s body the moment he sat up. Now that the guards were gone, it was peaceful and quiet. Still, his worry lingered. Even more so when he watched the features on the warlock’s face shift back into the discomfort he’d seen earlier. The breeze grew colder, and though the chill itself didn’t bother Nikolai, he knew it was Alexander’s magic that had caused it. His gaze dropped to the ring, shining a deep, stormy blue, but he didn’t comment on it.

They were both dressed in a matter of minutes, and Nikolai’s hand was taken again. They easily fell into a rhythmic step, working their way back inside. Though he was hopeful they didn’t run into anyone and were able to make it to Alex’s bedroom in peace, a big part of Nikolai’s thoughts were occupied by whatever was going on with Alex. He recognized the look on his face. It was the same look Nikolai himself had not too long ago after the incident by the fountain. He contemplated asking, but at the same time thought it would be best to let Alexander speak when he was ready. Much to his surprise, it didn’t take him long at all.

Nikolai’s brows furrowed, his gaze focused straight ahead as he listened. A deep sinking feeling settled in his stomach. His grip on Alex’s hand tightened instinctively. The last thing he wanted to think about right now was that damn prophecy. To be entirely honest, he still wasn’t convinced by it. Whatever mother nature, or the gods or the universe saw in him to make them think he was the right choice for this, he didn’t see it. His free hand curled in his pocket, wishing he could just have a little more time. Alex seemed so prepared, so convinced. Nikolai was not.

“You always have the most impeccable timing, don’t you.” \he commented as a jest more than anything. Whatever discomfort the warlock felt was likely too prevalent to ignore. Nikolai didn’t want him to ignore it. He was grateful that Alexander shared those feelings with him, but he wasn’t willing to let their night be ruined by it. Not this time.

His step came to a halt as he turned to face his husband. The worry on his features matched Nikolai’s own, but the siren willed his face to relax, releasing Alexander’s hand so he could affectionately cup his face.

“We will figure it out.” he assured, despite not being entirely convinced himself. “Whatever we have to do, we’ll do it.” Perhaps he wasn’t a believer. Not in the same sense Alexander was, but now that he’d come to terms with his own feelings he was certain of one thing. He would do anything in his power to make Alex happy. Anything. He reached up, placing a gentle kiss on his lips, before his hands fell back down to take the other’s.

“But for now, how about we just enjoy, hm?” It wasn’t unlike Alexander to be all business, and maybe Nikolai needed someone like that in his life. But the two had earned their night of peace. They had the right to enjoy it. His eyes looked around the garden, scoping out the area for any lingering guards before he added. “How about we take a detour?” There was a place he knew no one would find them. A place the two had come to love dearly. Now that the afternoon had begun to make way for the evening hours, it was only a matter of time before the stars began to peak through. The invite lingered on Nikolai’s features as he looked at his husband, hoping he would understand what the siren meant by ‘detour’.
Alexander’s body instinctively leaned into the warmth that Nikolai provided as they walked. Even with his best attempt at keeping them both warm with his magic, he could feel the slight chill beginning to seep into his bones. Part of him wanted to drag his husband to his room, light the fireplace, and cuddle underneath the blankets until they both ended up dozing off into a comfortable sleep. His grip on his hand only tightened more, fingers curling against the other male’s. He hadn’t a clue what his reaction would be, especially since the words truly came out of nowhere.

The stopping of Nikolai’s steps caused for him to pause himself. He turned to face him fully then. His entire expression was twisted in concern at his own thoughts. His hand loosened his hold on the other’s then, not doing anything to ease his mind. “I’m sorry.” The apology slipped out without him truly meaning for it to. It was a simple phrase that he had spoken over and over again, one that his parents hated him to speak. His mind immediately flipped to the possibility that he had ruined their evening. That pit in his stomach continued to grow then.

He tilted his head slightly even as his hands came up to cup his cheeks. A gentle frown crossed his lips, eyebrows furrowing immediately. Concern still pinched his expression. “I didn’t want to bring it up now, but it is starting to happen more and more. It’s why I have been avoiding using my magic.” His explanation was a mere whisper in the air between the two of them. He wanted to elaborate more, to tell Nikolai everything that he had been experiencing since the other male had gone away. He withheld the urge though, shoving it down as he had so many times before. There was no reason for him to continuously ruin the one night that they might find the joy they both had been missing.

His reassurance was enough to finally helped ease his tension, shoulders beginning to drop. He brought both of his hands up to gently rest on Nikolai’s torso. He nodded his head slightly, though he didn’t move any further than that. “I know we will,” He mumbled, a soft sigh leaving him not long after those four words did. “I know.” He repeated. His eyes closed for a brief moment. His mind was still pushing his anxieties forward. The swirling questions of what could go wrong edged their way into his brain, causing that pit in his chest to grow once more. It wasn’t until Nikolai pressed the soft kiss to his lips that he was finally able to focus solely on his husband.

“A detour?” He didn’t immediately recognize where Nikolai was referring to, though his lips were quick to form an ‘o’ as he realized just where he meant. He nodded his head, offering the brightest smile he could muster in that moment. His hair fell partly into his eyes. Any form of his usual princely nature had dissipated due to the activities they took part in earlier. “That would be wonderful.” He admitted. Instead of taking his hand again, he linked an arm with the siren prince’s. He stuck close to his side as he had many times before, beginning to trace the familiar steps to the moon pool.

Thankfully the two weren’t stopped while they walked, though he had grown worried they might end up being found by a few guards again. Due to the way to the moon pool being engraved in his mind, he managed to get the two of them there rather quickly. He unlinked his arm from Nikolai’s once they were inside the cave. He was careful to mind his step in the places he knew were slippery. “I think i might join you for a swim.” He confessed once they got to the shimmering water. His eyes studied it for a moment before he shifted to pull off his shirt and pants, leaving him only in his undergarments. He still wasn’t the best swimmer, but he knew his husband would help him if need be.
The worries swirling around in Alexander’s mind no doubt matched Nikolai’s own. He didn’t even think he would ever be prepared. In truth, Alex’s faith in his gods was an advantage. Even if Nikolai didn’t believe in them the way his husband did, he could at the very least admit it was admirable. That very faith would surely carry him through this confusing journey. Meanwhile, Nikolai had nothing to lean on. Nothing except his new found love for Alexander. He’d never been in love, so who’s to say that would even be enough?

He knew Alexander needed to talk about his concerns. About whatever it was he experienced while Nikolai was away. He’d been so selfish then, not realizing how much his actions would hurt the person he loved most. But there was no point in regretting it now. The best he could do was just listen. And he would, when the time came. But he also knew Alex needed to clear his mind first. Even for just a night. They could put all this mess aside and pretend they didn’t have anything to worry about.

The trek to the moon pool felt shorter than usual. Perhaps it could be due to ALex’s lack of tripping and slipping. He only stumbled a couple of times. A big improvement compared to the last time they’d come together. The inside felt a bit colder than he’d exp
Excited. And he knew the water would be ice cold. But this was his domain. Alex didn’t have a thing to worry about.

“Of course you are.” He chimed in, stepping away from his husband to have enough room to undress. “We never finished those swimming lessons, after all.” He teased. He called the first time they came here together. His feelings towards Alex were muhc different then. He was a warlock whom Nikolai had to marry. Nothing more. But now…

Now he was his husband. Someone he loved more than he ever thought he could.

“I’m proud of you for not falling on the way in here.” He noted with a cheeky grin and he began to pull off his articles a of clothing for the second time that night. Unlike last time they did this, Nikolai didn’t think it necessary to leave anything on. Not after what they’d just done in the garden. He stripped down completely bare, knowing Alex would still be flustered even after already having seen him nude. But he didn’t mind. He loved the dusting of pink on the other’s face. He gave his husband a quick peck on the lips, then jumped into the water, instantly sprouting his signature tail in the same dramatic fashion as before.

As expected, it was cold. He didn’t mind it, was used to it even. But he didn’t want Alex freezing to death. With a few swirls of his hands, the water began to grow warmer, bubbles building up around the edges until they reached the center, transforming it into something similar to a hot spring. He then swam to the edge, holding his hand out for Alex to offer support.

“Mei acompagni, je’soiré?’
Alexander’s head turned to glance towards the other male as he heard the gentle shuffling of his clothes coming off. He caught himself admiring the gentle curves of his body much like he had many times before. He hadn’t allowed for himself to outwardly show that he had been doing so but now that the two were married, he didn’t care. He fully turned to watch as he walked towards the moon pool. The cold air surrounding them caused his skin to raise. His body physically shivered, though he turned to pull off the remaining bits of undergarments that he had been wearing.

He turned back around in order to see the other male jump into the pool and transform. His eyes widened slightly, knowing it was a sight that he would never grow tired of seeing. A smile began to grow on his lips then. “Once I know the path to getting somewhere, I don’t trip as much. It’s helped that we’ve come this way a bit now.” He explained with a chuckle. His eyes were beginning to gleam once more as he stepped towards the pool. He hadn’t realized that his cheeks had flushed at the sight of Nikolai’s bare body. It was something that he wouldn’t be able to prevent even if he wanted to.

“You know, you are such a show off. You made fun of me earlier for it, but you are so much worse than me.” He teased. He paused when he was on the edge of the pool, looking down to his feet while he did so. His toes dangled over the edge of water. He wished the fear wasn’t beginning to grow in her chest as it had all those times before. He took in a deep breath before he lifted his gaze to meet Nikolai’s once again. The steam that rose around them was a welcome comfort. He took in a gentle breath before he carefully jumped into the water.

The warm water reminded him of the hot springs that he used to swim in when he was younger, long before they dried out. He let out a soft groan of relief as he shifted to grab ahold of the side. His fingers gripped the slippery rocks, leaning back against them some. He did his best to keep his body upright while his feet carefully kicked as Nikolai showed him many times before. The panic was still very present in his chest, though he tried not to let it show. He glanced over towards the other male once more. “I think I might be able to actually swim with a few more lessons.” He confessed. At least, he truly hoped he would be able to.

He adjusted to where he could fully face him as he had the few times before. “The water feels wonderful. You’ve done a great job.” He spoke with a soft grin. He was doing his best to keep his mind completely off of the issues with his magic and the prophecy. “You know I never would’ve said this before, but you look absolutely incredible as a siren. I have never seen anything as lovely as you before.”
Despite not being able to see himself, Nikolai knew what his face must have looked like while watching Alexander. Every bit of distrust or resentment he once might have felt towards the other was long gone. His eyes filled with the overwhelming sense of comfort the other brought him, his features molded by a deep affection that only this type of love could bring out of him. He was careful in helping the other into the water, knowing the fear of it still lingered. Nikolai was determined to bring Alexander to a comfortable, loving relationship with the water, much like his own. Yes, it could be terrifying at times, but that was true for most things that were beautiful.

“Show off? Me?” he feigned a gasp, bringing a hand to his chest not unlike in a soap opera. “I would never.”

He took note of the way the other still held onto the rocks for stability. Nikolai had never not known how to swim. It was difficult for him to imagine a life as such, but he could at the very least sympathize with the warlock, and respected him for not refusing to at least try.

“You’ll be swimming in no time.” he assured with a genuine smile. “You’re a natural.” the light from the cave opening up ahead shone almost directly on them. Alexander’s eyes looked like the deepest oceans reflecting the light, and for a moment, Nikolai was mesmerized. Until his husband spoke again, delivering a compliment he wasn’t expecting. Nikolai blinked for a moment, briefly caught off guard by how honest one could be. He’d never truly received a compliment such as that without it being backhanded.

“Hmm, be careful…” His words were low and sultry as he swam a few inches closer, their bodies almost touching. The golden scales scattered throughout his skin now also catching the light from overhead. “Beauty is our most dangerous weapon. Haven’t you heard?” It was a warlock tale told far and wide, depicting sirens as deceitful creatures, using their ethereal beauty to lure in their prey before drowning them. It was ridiculous, really. So ridiculous in fact, that Nikolai couldn’t help but make fun of it.

One of his hands reached out for Alex’s, allowing the other to stay latched onto the rocks. When he was ready, he would let go on his own. His body was now close enough for them to almost touch, the skies bathing them both in moonlight. Nikolai took the opportunity to steal a kiss, lingering on the other’s lips for as long as he was allowed to before pulling away.

“Ever wondered what these feel like?” he asked, raising his free arm to show off the faint scales. Contrary to what most believed, they were not sharp or slippery. Some sirens had compared their scales to polished clay or porcelain. Nikolai wasn’t sure if he agreed, but perhaps at the very least, they were not dangerous. Not unless he needed them to be.
Alexander’s grip loosened on the rock he held some as he grinned over at Nikolai. The feigned surprised along with the gasp that he let out only caused for soft laughter to bubble through his own lips. “And to think, I get to deal with everyone’s eyes falling on you the moment we step into a room.” He mused, his smile softening some then. His own affection was mirror in his gaze, eyes crinkling. Any tension that had been lingering in his muscles before completely subsided then. It was one of the few times where he allowed himself to truly relax. He hadn’t felt this comfortable around anyone in his life and he planned to savor each moment of it that he could.

His gaze turned to look down at the water he was now in, a flash of uncertainty crossing his expression. The fear of water lingered deep within his chest. He knew it was irrational, especially after all of the misconceptions surrounding sirens had been cleared by Nikolai. Still, the unease wasn’t something he was able to push away completely yet. “I hope so. I would feel a lot better if I knew how to already.” He confessed. He hadn’t even noticed the way the siren prince had been staring at him until he lifted his eyes to meet Nikolai’s once more.

There seemed to be some sort of admiration lingering in his husband’s expression. His eyebrows pinched slightly, though he didn’t bother with words to question why. He knew that Nikolai would tell him if he needed to. His grip on the rock loosened once he swam closer, the smile on his face almost having disappeared completely. The happiness was still clear on his expression though. The moonlight gleamed off of both of them, Nikolai’s scales catching it. The reflection carried onto the walls of the cave surrounding them. He allowed a gentle hum to break through his lips then. He gently clicked his tongue before he inches even closer to him.

“I may have heard a rumor about it. I don’t know how true it is though.” He spoke with a slight purr to his words, his lips twitching up once more in a smirk. “It isn’t as though I would mind dying due to such beauty.” He added without a moment’s hesitation. He allowed for one of his hands to be carefully guided off of the rock, suppressing the panic that immediately flared in his chest. He was quick to remind himself that he was here with Nikolai and that his husband wouldn’t allow any harm to befall him. His grip tightened slightly on the other male’s hand though, an instinct that he couldn’t get rid of quite yet.

The nerves fluttered away immediately once he felt the light press of his lips against his own. It was the reassurance that he truly needed in that moment. He held it for as long as he could, the air in his lungs beginning to ache as he finally pulled away. He held that small distance between them for only a few more moment before he managed to focus back on the conversation at hand. The faint blushing had returned to caress his cheekbones as well as the tips of his slightly pointed ears. His ring was glowing a faint pink on his finger.

His eyes slowly shifted to the scales once more as Nikolai lifted his arm from the water. “I have. They just look so soft.” He confessed. Hesitantly, he finally let go of the rock that he had been gripping onto. He dipped below the water for a moment as he wasn’t fully prepared for it, but was quickly able to get himself fully floating again. The rapid motion of his legs beneath him evened out and he found himself treading the water with much more ease than he would’ve dreamed of. The smile was quick to return to his lips as his fingers gently rested on the scales he showed. “They are very soft and smooth, like your normal skin.” He admitted, words a bit breathless.
Once upon a time, Nikolai would have rejected the idea of being so open around someone else. So honest that everything he felt was practically painted on his face. He knew Alexander had often found it hard to read him. But for all the times he’d spent masking his emotions with other emotions that made him appear less vulnerable, he now wore them on every inch of his face. The love, the trust, the admiration for the way Alexander had so willingly opened up to him and gotten to know him despite the nasty rumors and misconceptions. It was all there, plain as day for his husband to see. And truthfully, it felt amazing.

Here, in the privacy of their special place, there was nothing to hide. Nikolai willingly let his walls come down for the duration of the time they were here, a gentle smile with a glint of mischief forming his lips.

“You know you’ll be the first to get this close to a siren and live to tell the tale.” he joked again, allowing Alex to get a good feel for the scales. Nikolai himself didn’t think anything special of them. Every siren had them, each with their own unique color and pattern. Yes, they were pretty, but nothing he wasn’t used to seeing. On the other hand, he knew Alexander had probably never seen such a thing until they’d met. He turned his arm just slightly, allowing the gold of the scales to reflect the moonlight. In a way, they almost looked like tiny stars. One of the many things he loved about night time.

“Alright then, what are we waiting for?” he mused, lowering his arms again to take hold of both of Alexander’s hands. He slowly, and cautiously, guided the other away from the rocks and towards the center of the pool where they had more space. He kept hold of one hand, making sure the water also did its part to keep Alex afloat. “You already know what to do with your legs, all you need now is your arms.” It was something a bit foreign to Nikolai, as his tail usually did most of the work. But he at least knew enough to teach.

“Lean forward a bit.” he instructed, creating a bit more distance between them. He still kept hold of one of Alex’s hands for reassurance, even though the water was doing the heavy lifting. “And bring your arms in front of you, one at a time.” he demonstrated with his free hand as he explained, hoping to give a better visual. He paused for a moment, searching for his husband’s gaze until he locked it in. “I won’t let you fall, I promise.”
Admiration was beginning to shine in Alexander’s eyes once more as he continued to watch the way his husband’s scales glittered in the light. “They are like little stars.” He whispered, fingers pausing the way they had been lightly caressing his arm. His accent has thickened a bit in that moment. He almost felt as though he was beginning to choke on his words, emotions swelling in his chest unlike any others he had experienced before. He knew that he would ruin the moment if he spoke anything more on them and he didn’t want to like he had on their way to the moon pool. If anything, he knew he could speak on such matters later on in the safety of their room.

“They are going to tell the story of our interaction for eons to come.” He mused, the joke slipping through his lips with ease. His smile only grew more then. “Gÿre jîre sasÿe.” He repeated in his native tongue, the words barely more than a whisper and enough to be missed if it hadn’t been as quiet as it was in the cave. The only sounds were that of the water around them and the gentle chirps of the nature outside of the cave. He blinked as his attention was pulled away from Nikolai’s scales once he heard his words. His eyebrows furrowed for a quick moment, though the gentle feeling of his hands in his own helped assure him as he was carefully led towards the center of the pool. Part of him felt as foolish as a child in that moment, especially with the amount of patience Nikolai as showing. He couldn’t believe he didn’t know how to properly swim

He forced those thoughts away, knowing they would do him no good when he was trying to do so in that moment. Residual panic lingered in his chest when Nikolai shifted his body to be a bit farther away. He took in a deep breaths as he did his best to remind himself that his husband wouldn’t allow for any harm to befall him. He knew that he would be alright for as long as he had Nikolai by his side. “Okay.” The gentle confirmation was the only thing that he could express then. He moved his arms to mimic what Nikolai showed him. He hadn’t realized just how pinched his expression had been until his gaze met the other male’s.

His legs kicked gently and steadily beneath him, helping keep his body afloat. His arms continued the careful movements that he had been shown. Even with the support that he felt from the water, he was growing more comfortable the longer he continued to move. He slowly released Nikolai’s hand from his grasp then. “I think I want to try it on my own.” He admitted, returning his gaze back to his husband. He gave him a quick nod of reassurance then. He knew it would be another shock once the extra support left, but it was something that he was ready for. It would just be another way to push him out of his comfort zone.

That was one constant thing that Nikolai had encouraged him to do and something that he was beginning to love. He played it far too safe for most of his life, keeping to the role of the proper prince his parents wanted him to. He never once stepped out of line or did anything for himself. It was only now that he found Nikolai that he was willing to do the things he never believed he would before. This new sense of adventure was something he always craved, yet it scared him nonetheless. The feeling was one that he hoped to grow comfortable with over time, much like he had around Nikolai.
Never in all his years did Nikolai imagine he could be teaching anyone how to swim. The knowledge was engraved into a siren’s brain from the moment they were born. Most learned to swim long before they even began to walk. He couldn’t help but wonder if he was teaching it correctly. Demonstrating was one thing, but being able to properly explain it in words was more difficult than he expected. He was thankful, at least, that Alexander seemed to be somewhat of a visual learner. After watching for a few moments, he began to mimic the movements. Nikolai kept the grip on his hand until the warlock decided to let go on his own.

There was a subtle sense of pride in his chest as he watched, recalling how scared the prince had been the first time they had approached water. From what Nikolai gathered, fear of the ocean and the creatures living within it was instilled into warlock children from a young age. Presumably as a way to keep them away from sirens. The species had been called many things, surrounded by countless twisted tales that it was no wonder they lived so secluded. The majority of warlocks had never even met a siren in person, and still allowed themselves to be guided by what they heard.

Alexander had been like that too, at first. That’s what had gotten them off to such a rough start. And admittedly, Nikolai had his own preconceived judgements. But his husband had been more open minded than the siren had expected, willing to learn about him and discover things on his own instead of clinging on to what he’d been taught. For that, Nikolai had a deep respect for him. For the way he accepted the siren prince, who at one point was a stranger to him, without much hesitation. Alexander had expressed how much Nikolai had shown him, but he didn’t realize that he too had taught the siren things. He’d taught Nikolai how to trust again, and how to love without the fear of not getting that love in return. There were so many things he wanted to thank Alexander for, that he wouldn’t even know where to begin.

For now, he set those thoughts aside, focusing on the grip of Alex’s hand until the warlock decided to let go. Nikolai’s brow lifted in mild surprise, but did as his husband asked, removing the weight of the water from underneath him. He watched with a careful eye, looking out for the first sign of hesitation. Much to his surprise, Alexander was doing very well. He began to swim away slowly, still keeping an eye out for the man in case he lost his balance. He was rather slow, but still going much better than Nikolai expected. Still, the siren couldn’t hold back the teasing comment.

“Woah, slow down there, who are you trying to race?” his chuckle quietly echoed within the cave walls, but despite his lighthearted sarcasm, the look of pride on his face was clear. He let the warlock grow a bit more comfortable with the water, keeping himself in place until the distance between them was closed again. Nikolai’s hand reached out again with a smile, offering his husband a short break. “Such a good student. I think you deserve a reward.”
Alexander could feel the familiar panic begin to surge in his chest as the extra support of the water lifted from around him. He swallowed hard in order to force it back down. His feet kicked a bit harder and he moved his arms carefully to keep himself balanced. His chin dipper below the water line for only a moment before he was able to get himself exactly as to how he had been before. He hadn’t even recognized the fact that he was swimming on his own until Nikolai spoke. He blinked rapidly, turning his head to look at the water surrounding him. His eyes widened some in awe before a bright smile broke out his face. It was a joy that had only been matched during their wedding.

“This is incredible!” He gushed, that happiness lacing through each syllable he spoke. He kept himself floating in the water until Nikolai offered his hand out once more. He gratefully took hold of it, his legs beginning to ache from the effort he exerted in keeping himself above water. He shifted in order to get his body closer towards the edge of the pool where he didn’t have to worry about keeping himself up as well. He raised an eyebrow slightly at his words, head tilting as it always did.“I think I am only such a great student because I had a wonderful teacher.” There was a slight purr to his tone. The grin had softened into a lazy smile then.

He gaze his hand a gentle squeeze before he carefully moved closer. He leaned in, lips hovering not far from his husband’s for only a second before he connected them carefully. The kiss was far more gentle than he normally would’ve greeted the other male with, but he wanted to savor the moment they were sharing. He hadn’t a clue when they might be able to experience this level of peace and tranquility again. He had no doubts they would be roped into their princely duties once more before they were able to leave the castle to whichever property their families had agreed on. He knew his parents had many wonderful estates that would be well-suited for the two of them.

He held the kiss as long as he could without a slight aching in his chest to grow. He pulled back slowly then. The joy in his eyes had been traded with affections. It mellowed out the sharp nature of the cruel blue of his irises. They looked to be mere puddles in that moment with all love directed entirely at Nikolai. He leaned forward to carefully press two more kisses to each corner of the siren’s mouth before he pulled away fully. “Eu’steilla.” He echoed the nickname that his husband had given him then. The word was much heavier with the thickness of his accent, a stark contrast to the light nature of the siren language. “I still can’t believe your nickname for me is such a lovely word.” It was a gentle tease, one he had made before.

He tilted his head to look up towards the ceiling of the cave. The moon still reflected in through the small opening, the light bouncing off of the walls surrounding them. He took in a gentle breath before he lifted his free hand out of the water. Droplets fell down his skin as his index finger aimed towards the cave walls around them. It had been a while since he had tried doing such a thing, but he knew it would be perfect in that moment. Little bits of light sparked around the walls, mimicking the shape and color of the stars. Combined with the moonlight, it looked as though the sky had come down to blanket the area surrounding them. He allowed his head to return to beneath the water as he enjoyed the little lights now surrounding them. “For you. If I am to be eu’steilla, it would only make sense for me to bring the stars to you.”
A part of Nikolai felt he must be dreaming. Unraveling the film of his life revealed very few good deeds. Try as he may, he could not pinpoint a single event that would warrant him finding someone like Alexander. Did he deserve this? He wasn’t certain if he did, or what he’d done in a past life to have earned someone that cared about him so deeply. In spite of all the flaws and obstacles, Alexander held on tighter each time. Nicolai felt a swelling in his chest he didn’t quite know how to describe.

Alexander’s lips were soft, warm, so welcoming. Exactly what he’d longed for all his life, but never truly realized it. For the first time in his life, Nikolai felt…safe. With every passing second their lips met, the siren’s veins coursed with euphoric bliss. His arms rested on the warlock’s shoulders, body relaxing into the touch. His tail floated lazily underneath, keeping them both afloat. Glistening scales reflected against the water coating Alexander’s skin. The breeze around them created a melodic lullaby, engulfing them both in a bubble. As if nothing else in the world mattered. No responsibilities, no conflict, no impending danger and heartache. Only the two of them in a space that was theirs and theirs alone.


It was a nickname Nikolai had formed without much thought. At the time, it didn’t mean much, but each time it was used, it took on a new meaning. Alexander was the shining stars to his moon. Not unlike the blanket that surrounded them. It was a perfect representation of how he felt in the other’s presence. Sparks of light in the darkness that made up Nikolai’s mind. The swelling in his chest grew. Niko recognized it as positive, the tears threatening to overflow.

“It’s beautiful…” his whisper blended with the breeze, hands still holding on to Alexander like they were permanently attached. It was the look in his husband’s eyes that drew his attention back. His words so careful and soothing. The impulse was too strong. Nikolai simply wouldn’t be able to keep his hands off the prince even if he wanted to, and the heavens knew he really didn’t want to. It was the sway of the water that brought them closer together, his lips hovering over Alexander’s just as the man had done before.

“Je’aimo, eu’steilla…” the syllables floated into the space around them as Nikolai closed the distance, placing his lips on Alexander’s once again like it was the first time, his desires felt amplified in the safety of their special place, and Nikolai allowed his own body to press against Alexander’s, leaving little room for even the water itself. Hands traveled up into the damp hair, lips molding to every curve of Alex’s. The fire still burned deep within, even after they’d gotten their fix in the gardens. Perhaps he was being greedy, but Nikolai wanted more.

His lips trailed away from Alexander’s own, tracing them along his jawline, neck, shoulders. The water warmed his blood as he slowly worked his way down Alexander’s chest, giving a prince a teasing smirk before dipping below the water to give him the reward that had been promised,
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The little lights scattered across the cave walls held even when Alexander’s concentration shifted from the magic it took to create them. They twinkled with each glance, the light reflecting off of the walls with the moonlight streaming in through the small skylight above them. Joy began to swell in his chest at the words that Nikolai managed to whisper out into the comfortable silence the held them. He shifted his gaze to study the siren prince’s expression for a few moments. He didn’t voice his own response, though some relief that his husband found his gift to be satisfactory was clearly swimming in the deep blue of his irises.

His attention focused fully on the man in front of him, their bodies beginning to meld together as that same rush of passion and desire overcame him. It was truly unlike anything he experienced before the garden earlier that evening. Part of him wondered why it had taken as long as it had for him to feel this way about another person. He supposed it could’ve been the god’s way of ensuring he fell for the right person. His deities seemed to have a rather twisted way of thinking, now that he thought back on the matter though. Yet, nothing could’ve prepared him for the rush of pleasure that came along with his husband’s actions. The stars surrounding them grew brighter. Soon enough two were illuminated by a soft golden gleam, the hue matching that of the warmest sunsets.

He hadn’t even recognized that his magic grew stronger until his husband had finished with what he planned. His cheeks were flushed the familiar pink, brown hair sticking to his forehead from the sip below he had taken earlier when he tried to swim on his own. The blue of his irises had darkened with the desire that still lingered, though he had done well to reign the rest in. “You are going to get me into a world of trouble.” His words were a weak tease, his lips beginning to twitch up into a crooked smile. “I have no doubts the courts are going to get rather sick of us fairly quickly.” He added once air seemed to be filling his lungs fully once more. He hadn’t realized just how little he had been getting in mere moments before.

Slowly, the lights around them began to twinkle once more before they disappeared one by one. Some just faded on their own while the others mirrored the shooting stars in the sky above. They were left alone in just the moonlight that was beginning to shift away from the opening in the cave. “We might want to head back before anyone thinks we’ve run off to never be heard of again.” He confessed, though his movements were reluctant as he began to pull himself from the warmth of the water. The air surrounding them had fallen into a brisk cold, enough to make the hair on his arms immediately rise at the feeling. He was quick to heat it, making sure it would surround the two of them.

“I would love nothing more than to curl up beside you in our bed with the fire raging all night long.” He paused as he raised a hand to carefully begin to dry himself off. The magic was tedious, but something he had done a few times before. “I have been kept from you for far too long and I intend to become attached to your hip.” He added in a teasing tone. He then began to pull his clothes and shoes back on. He shifted to face his husband once he was fully dressed once more.
Few things brought Nikolai more delight than watching Alexander’s face bloom with the blush that his actions brought. It was magnified even more by the bright magic that surrounded them. There was no need to ask if his husband enjoyed the impromptu gift, it was written all over his features as well as the cave walls. He offered a smirk, running a tongue over his lips, and choosing to leave the comment on the top of his tongue for later. He managed to steal one more kiss as the lights around them faded, leaving them basking in the lingering moonlight. He didn’t want to leave, but he understood that being in the water must be tiring for the warlock prince.

“I hope they do get sick of us.” He chuckled, knowing there were many out there that didn’t approve of their marriage despite not saying it out loud. These were the people that Nikolai would make sure got a good view of their public displays of affection. He’d make sure they saw his hand in Alexander’s, and every kiss he placed on his lips and cheeks. They would have no option but to watch them be happy.

He watched adoringly as Alex pulled himself from the water, lingering behind a bit to get a good look of his figure. The man that was all his now. In spite of everything that was said about Nikolai, he was the one Alexander loved. That’s all that mattered. Following suit, he pulled himself from the water once his tail had split into the pair of legs once again. It was nowhere near as painful as when he was first learning, but it still left a lingering soreness in his muscles as he stood on the rocks, drying himself off. The water evaporated from his body all at once, creating a steamy cast that floated into the air.

Alexander was already dressed by then. Now that they had their intimacy, Nikolai had little to no shame. He sauntered closer, his clothes still folded atop a rock by the entrance of the cave. “Anything for you, eu’steilla.” The words rolled from his lips, followed by a quick peck to Alex’s. “But I can’t promise I’ll be able to keep my hands off you.” It was almost a whisper. Nikolai allowed a short silence to linger, knowing the words would be enough to send the prince’s cheeks ablaze again. He detached himself after, walking past to grab his own clothes.

He felt the warmth of the cave, knowing it was likely Alexander’s doing, and remembered what the man had said back in the garden. He hoped using his magic for Nikolai’s sake didn’t cause any discomfort, but made a mental note to ask about it once they were in the comfort of the bedroom. As much as he wanted to enjoy a peaceful night, he knew better than to ignore the warlock’s concerns. At the very least, he could be of some comfort until they figured out what to do next. So, once he was dressed, he turned back to his husband, offering his hand with a welcoming smile. “Shall we?”
Alexander could feel Nikolai’s eyes on him as he shifted to dry himself off. He knew that he would grow used to the way his husband admired each part of his body, but his cheeks only flushed a darker shade of red. He let out a gentle puff of air through his lips, allowing his cheeks to puff out for a moment before he shifted to look towards Nikolai. The lingering affection in his gaze brought a soft smile to his own lips. “It will be a wonderful thing to see when they do. I can’t wait for all of the eye rolls and the huffs whenever we walk by. They will be drowning in our love for one another.” He kept his tone light, amusement lacing his tone.

He decided against his shame in that moment to allow himself to admire his husband as he walked closer. He prevented his eyes from drifting too low in order to stop any blushing that might happen once more. He never allowed himself to study someone so closely. Each curve of Nikolai’s body was beautiful to him. There was an elegance unlike anything he had seen before. He heard rumors of the way sirens would come to the surface to seduce their prey when needed. He knew now that the words had been lies, but he understand why their looks caused such rumors.

“I think my cheeks might be stained red for eternity if you keep saying things to me like that.” He mumbled in his own response, finally turning his gaze away. The smile that had been on his lips only grew then. He waited patiently for the siren prince to fully dress before he shifted forward and gladly took his hand. He laced their fingers together as they normally did. His body pressed gently against his as well. He kept the warm air surrounding them as he nodded. “Let’s. It has been quite the day.” He confessed. He hadn’t realized just how tired he was until they made their way out into the chilly air of the evening.

The walk back to the castle went by much quicker than he thought it might, though he knew it was due to the comfort that he felt in the other’s presence. The guards stepped aside when they saw the two coming towards one of the side gates. Alexander hadn’t the energy to wander through the hidden passageways to make it back to his room. This pathway was much shorter and would be much easier for the two of them. A soft yawn broke through his lips by the time they did make it back to his room. He decided his chambers would be far more comfortable for the two of them that evening.

He released Nikolai’s hand and then carefully opened the door. He waited for his husband to step in before he closed it behind them. He glanced over at the dwindling flame in the fireplace. Without a word or a raised hand, the flames immediately rose and started to blaze. Warmth began to fill the room. He stretched his arms out behind him before he moved to go change into more comfortable clothes. “Do you want me to ask for anything to drink or a snack for us?” He inquired.

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