Chapter 2 - Burnt like fire in a pyre
Burnt like fire in a pyre
The first time the two princes could actually talk alone happened three days after that dinner. Tommy was at his favorite spot on the beach. It was a small bay-like stretch with sand and big rocks. His back was propped on a smooth rock and he rested an old book on his knees which were pulled up close to his chest. Time after time he stroked his bangs behind his ear but the warm breeze always messed it up. He didn’t really mind as he was too lost in the pages. He didn’t even realize he was being watched for a while by an approaching figure.
“Prince Thomas. I must tell I’ve never seen anyone so absorbed in a book,” he heard all of a sudden, the voice making him slightly jump. Looking up he saw the dark-haired prince. “Mind if I join you? We haven’t really had the chance to talk so far.”
“It’ll be your kingdom too so I can’t stop you from sitting wherever you want to,” he said and turned his attention back to the page he was reading, but the words didn’t make any sense anymore once the prince sat down and the silence stretched between them.
“I presume it’s true, but I’d rather have your permission as this is your homeland after all,” he finally broke the silence, clearly getting bored of it.
“Whatever… Prince Adam,” he added his title not to seem ruder than he already was. He didn’t really know why he was acting like this since the other man never gave any reason for him to do so.
He could feel the clear blue eyes on him and heard the prince’s sigh as he waited for a few seconds before asking “What are you reading?”
“Old legends of my kingdom. About monsters and mythical creatures of the sea.”
“I can see those are your favorites.”
“What?” Tommy looked at him puzzled.
“Your tattoos on your arms. Next to those that represent your royal status, there are some of those creatures on your skin too, if I’m not mistaken…” he pointed out looking at Tommy’s tattooed arms which were left free by his thin sleeveless tunic. “They are pretty impressive.”
“Yeah. Well, thanks,” he glimpsed at said tattoos before turning back to the book.
“Am I bothering you?” Adam asked after a minute of silence.
“I don’t believe you,” he shook his head and looked ahead of him, watching the water lick the shore, but before Tommy could question him if he was calling him a liar he went on “You think I wanted this?” he whispered softer.
“Our marriage?” he looked at the handsome man from behind his blonde bangs and when Adam nodded, still not looking at him, Tommy turned his head towards the water too. “I don’t know what to believe. I don’t know you.”
“I’m trying to change that, Thomas. I hate the idea of being forced on you. That’s just not me. Don’t forget that my hands are tied here just as much as yours.”
“Why did you agree?”
“Probably for the same reasons you did. Protecting and making our kingdoms stronger with uniting their powers. The Land of the Sea is an important supplier of food and goods for our kingdom in the desert. We don’t have as many fish and water for agriculture like here. Most of my people live along the biggest river of our country as the rest is hot desert. We cannot risk losing the support of your kingdom in case you get attacked from the south.”
“So I’m a good catch. A tool then. Just like I thought,” he snorted closing his book and stood up. He didn’t look too pissed, rather closed up, but he looked down at the prince when Tommy felt warm and strong fingers capture his wrist and preventing him from walking away.
“You are being childish. It’s not about you or I and you know that. It’s for the greater good. To protect our people. Don’t you want to do that? You are acting like a selfish child, Prince Thomas,” Adam frowned up at him as he was studying the hard lines of Tommy’s face.
“Let go of me, Prince Adam,” Tommy gritted through his teeth, anger flaring up in his brown eyes, although he knew that the prince was probably right.
“Not until you admit you are wrong here,” he shook his head and the calmness coming off the other man was only pissing off Tommy more and made him tug on his hand to free it.
Maybe he was being childish, but he just hated the idea of being a tool, an object in a plan – no matter how important that plan was. He won’t be anyone’s soulless and silent pawn in the kingdoms’ politics. Tommy was too much of a free spirit and dreamer, a gentle soul for that. Most of the time that knowledge was hidden from everyone though. He had to maintain the picture of the strong crown prince. He couldn’t show weakness to anyone. Not even in his own court. They couldn’t be sure if there weren’t spies from the other kingdoms and Tommy was just as sure as his father that if the opportunity was given, their enemy would strike down immediately. Still, even the thought of being a “trophy wife”, so to say, was suffocating Tommy. And he couldn’t know if Adam wasn’t just being nice now before the wedding, playing with Tommy. He heard about things like that before. He knew people where after the wedding the spouse showed his or her real face.
The blond prince was sure in one thing: he would fight if it came down to that. He thought that he could fight Prince Adam, use the advantage of being smaller and quicker than the tall man sitting on the sand, although his grip was tight and Tommy could feel the strength in the fingers around his wrist. It’d be tricky but he’s been training since childhood. “Let. Me. Go. Unless you want me to fight you,” he warned.
“Oh you think you could win?”
“Yes,” he hissed and he wasn’t trying to mask his anger anymore.
He watched the prince raise a brow and keep the eye-contact as he was probably contemplating about provoking a fight maybe for his amusement or just to see if Tommy really could take him down. Tommy’s mind was already clouded by his anger but his calculating fighter nature was kicking in too, thinking about the short dagger hidden by his waist under his tunic. Prince Adam was holding on to his left wrist which left his fighting hand free. It’d be easy to grab the dagger and even if he couldn’t harm his future husband severely, show him his place.
“Please, give me a reason,” Tommy growled still holding the book in his captured hand, Adam’s smug grin irritating him to no end. But instead of getting what he wanted the prince let go of his wrist. He resisted the urge to check it out as it was still throbbing and burning where the firm grip of the warm hand held him captive. Tommy snorted and turned around with his book, heading back to the uneven stone stairs that led back up to the castle.
He didn’t get far when he could hear quick footsteps from behind. Without any hesitation he dropped the book into the wet sand and spun around faster than anyone could expect from him. Of course it was Prince Adam planning on coming onto him from behind like a coward would do. Without thinking Tommy kicked his legs out, making the prince land on his back with a muffled moan. In the next moment the blond was straddling the bigger man and held the sharp dagger against his throat, cold anger burning in his eyes. “I see you play dirty, coward,” he hissed watching the prince swallow against the blade. And he was to marry this man? The fucking joke of the century.
“You asked me for a reason. I gave you one,” he gave him another of those irritating lopsided smirks. Tommy had to give the prince that at least he didn’t look frightened even if a blade was pressed against his throat.
“Oh so attacking me from behind was just providing me what I asked for?” Tommy snorted.
“Exactly. And I wanted to see if you could fight as well as rumors said,” he shrugged looking straight into Tommy’s eyes with those unbelievably blue ones which were reflecting the color of the sea at the moment.
“Did the rumors prove to be right?”
“It seems. But I had another reason to do it,” he said calmly.
“What?” Tommy frowned a little confused as he tried to figure out his other motif.
“To get closer to you and do this,” the prince said and without any warning or caring about the blade against his throat he grabbed the back of Tommy’s head and pulled him down so he could press his lips against the blond man’s.
Tommy tried to fight him off, but he didn’t want to accidentally cut the prince’s throat. That wouldn’t sit well with either of their families or kingdoms. At least that was how he reasoned with himself for pulling the dagger back. Though it was more likely that the real reason was the surprise and the softness of Prince Adam’s lips against his. It’s been a while since he’d exchanged kisses with anyone. In the last few weeks as the wedding’s date was coming closer he’s been too tense and impatient to let anyone close to him, although his father urged him to have at least one old lover to keep him relaxed. It didn’t happen. Tommy wasn’t going to use anyone for such purposes and he needed to be alone, think, make plans.
But now as Adam’s tongue licked along the seam of his mouth, asking for permission, all the suppressed desire and nervousness broke loose inside and he let the exploring tongue inside. The prince surely knew how to use his mouth and tongue, Tommy had to give him that as he already felt his body on fire from only one passionate kiss which he was returning just as eagerly. He already had his fair share of good kisses, but this was something new. Adam tried to dominate the kiss, and their tongues were rather battling than dancing. It was rough, exciting, burning and Tommy got carried away, like falling under the spell of the prince, who was clearly enjoying the hell out of the situation.
In his previous relationships the blond prince always had the upper hand. He liked to be in control in bed. He blamed his upbringing with all the rules and the lesson he was taught: always stay on alert, never let your guard down. As a result of that he could never really relax. Not even in bed. So Adam trying to take control of the kiss and through that over Tommy too, was refreshing and hot. But just when Tommy was starting to yield under Adam’s dominance and felt the prince’s erection press against him he broke the kiss and jumped to his feet. He stumbled and nearly fell as he was still a little dizzy from the amount of passion the kiss evoked in both of them. He could feel himself half-hard under his clothes, and knew that his face was flushed, lips swollen and red, pupils blown as he looked down at the dark-haired prince shocked and already pissed again.
He huffed and put his dagger away, hiding a little behind his hair as he stormed towards the stairs, muttering “Fucking perv” loud enough for Adam to hear, who just lay there laughing loud. The sound accompanied him for a while as he was climbing the stairs. Only much later in his chambers when he was less angry but confused like hell, did he realize that in his hurry he’d left his book behind. He was in trouble – and not because of pressing a blade against the neck of the Land of the Desert’s crown prince.
He didn’t get into trouble for the dagger incident in the upcoming days so he guessed, for some reason, Prince Adam was keeping his mouth shut about it. Tommy hoped that he wasn’t expecting to be rewarded for that in any way. The blond prince didn’t like him better after that afternoon on the beach. Moreover, he only felt more confused because of that kiss and what it did to him. If the prince wanted to get into Tommy’s head then he seemed to succeed because it seemed that all Tommy could think about was that damned kiss and how his traitor body reacted to it. It was like liquid fire that was trying to melt his resistance and do whatever Adam wanted to do. Tommy didn’t feel like his usual self and he did everything to avoid his future husband ever since.
That meant retreating to his chambers and surrounding himself with his beloved books but mostly just writing and playing music on his beloved guitar, which was a present from his father after he’d returned from a faraway diplomacy trip a few years ago. He loved playing on it. Mostly he taught himself but got some help from a young court musician who used to play at celebrations and became Tommy’s first male lover. Tommy stopped for a moment thinking how Carlo might be doing. He’d left the kingdom two years ago saying that he liked to wander the kingdoms and earn his living with his music, not staying in one place for long. Sometimes Tommy was still missing him.
When their guitar teaching sessions turned into hot sex Tommy used to be dominant with Carlo too. He loved topping his male lovers. There weren’t many, but enough to get experience with being a man. But for some reason he never let them top him. Probably because once one of them got drunker than he should have and tried to force Tommy into submitting. Needless to say that Tommy beat him and made sure that the guards threw him out of the castle, maybe even the kingdom. That bad memory was enough for him to always try to stay in control. With women it wasn’t such a challenge, most of them were just happy that the crown prince took them to his bed and submitted gladly, doing whatever Tommy wanted to do in bed.
But his reaction to the black-haired prince made Tommy wonder. Adam seemed to like being dominant. At least that’s what Tommy concluded from the heated kiss they’ve exchanged. It made him frown but at the same time it piqued his interest too. He started wondering how it’d feel to submit to Adam. Would he be able to do that? To completely let go? He was still a stranger and Tommy didn’t want this marriage any better than before he knew Adam in person. He didn’t know or trust him yet and maybe he never will. What if Adam get impatient and wants to live with his bed-right? Tommy doubted that he’d let Tommy fuck him or put off going to bed with him for long. After all it was another stupid tradition that was needed to consecrate the marriage between the king and the “queen”.
Tommy knew that since the traditions of the two kingdoms would be mixed on their wedding it meant that the actual wedding night would be held back in the Land of the Desert. As the laws of that kingdom said that it had to happen in the royal palace. It was a condition Tommy and his father agreed to. Partly to please the Lamberts and partly because it gave Tommy an extra few days before he had to let Adam close to him and get used to the thought itself. After that kiss though Tommy dared to hope that it wouldn’t be that bad.
“What are you thinking about with such a troubled expression?” he suddenly heard Sutan’s voice and his tall friend gracefully sat down next to him on the sofa in the next moment.
“My wedding night,” he grunted.
“Oh, kinky!” Sutan giggled crossing his long and smooth legs, but looked more serious when it didn’t move Tommy. “Everything’ll be fine. Prince Adam looks like a good man.”
“I don’t like him.”
“And why is that?” he raised a painted eyebrow and Tommy had to look away from the curious and at the same time understanding look.
“He’s a dick,” he snorted.
“Is this still about that kiss?” he sighed. As Sutan was his best friend and one of the very few people he trusted, he told him nearly everything so he knew about the kiss too.
“Kinda. And the fact that he tricked me into it. What if he’s a sneaky bastard?”
“Honey, even if he is, I think you’ll be able to take care of yourself. You have more fire in you than you know and outsmarting him shouldn’t be so hard for you.”
“That still doesn’t change the fact that once we get to their kingdom, I’ll have to sleep with him. I don’t like the idea. I don’t know if I can do it.”
“Of course you can,” Sutan put a graceful hand on his shoulder and squeezed it friendly. “Maybe thinking of it as a casual lay would help. The responsibilities of your status are a mood-killer for sure, but it’s not like you’d have to sacrifice babies or something.”
“Just my pride. I’m not a big fan of being humiliated.”
“I know, honey. But you can choose not to be the victim here. You can take control of the situation.”
“You think so? And how am I supposed to do that? I doubt that he’d let me take control over him and I hate the idea that there’ll be a stranger to witness the whole thing too,” he sighed. He was talking about the custom that at least two witnesses had to be there in the room with the new royal pair who could prove in the morning that the marriage was consecrated. He found it a stupid custom as it was made for kings and queens from the opposite sex, something about the importance of continuing the royal bloodlines. Not that either of them would be able to produce an heir… So yeah, he thought it was stupid forcing it on them, but it seemed that for the Desert, traditions – even the pointless ones – were more important. Tommy only agreed to one person from each kingdom. His choice was Sutan, whom he’d take with him to live and serve in their new home, because he needed a friendly and familiar face around. He thought he chose well as he knew Sutan well and they were very close, although they never had sex before. They were only close friends even if he was Tommy’s servant and he saw Tommy naked plenty of times as usually it was Sutan who prepared him for the events where he had to show up as the crown prince.
“You cannot know that until you get there. Maybe you should stop avoiding the prince and talk about your worries to him? Set your limits and boundaries?” he suggested.
“What? And give him something he can use against me? Hell no.”
“Tommy…” Sutan shook his head “When will you learn that not everything is about enemies and tricks and waiting for attacks? Clearly you haven’t been in love before…” he sighed and stood up to put the scented oils from a basket on a table close to the bed. “Besides, I think, for the first time in your life – if you let him close – there’d be someone who could take care of you, protect you and you could finally relax for a change,” he rolled his eyes.
“You know I haven’t been in love. I thought I was, but I have never been,” he shrugged and he knew he could’ve got pissed at his friend but he could never stay angry at Sutan for long and he had a point, even if Tommy didn’t want to admit it to himself.
“I know, sweetie. And you know what? I think you are just having the pre-marriage freak out. I saw it plenty of times. No wonder, tomorrow will be the big day. Which means that you have to get to bed early and have your beauty sleep,” he put his hands on his hips and looked strict enough for Tommy not to try to object.
“Yes, mother…” he sighed and put his guitar down with care. It was definitely going with them to his new home. He took off his tunic on his way and handed it over to Sutan. He only let his undergarment on before he walked to the bowl on the nightstand that Sutan just filled with fresh water. Tommy washed his face and took the soft towel his friend offered to dry his face. “I hope you won’t tuck me in otherwise I’ll really feel as a child.”
“No, no tucking in or good night kisses,” Sutan chuckled softly as he closed the darker and heavier curtains on the tall windows of Tommy’s room. A few were open to let the cooler night breeze in which was a relief after the hot day. Tommy could only imagine how much hotter it’d be in the capital of his soon-to-be kingdom.
“Thank the gods,” he sighed and tried to force a small smile on his face as he lay back in bed and pulled the light cover over him.
The tall man’s smile mirrored his and he blew out the candles and stopped for a moment before leaving for the night. “If I may say so, I think he confuses you because he’s different from the other lovers you had. Don’t make things harder for yourself. This can be a good thing, so just… give him a chance. For your own sake too,” he said and left.
Tommy had no chance to reply but maybe it was better that way. Maybe Sutan was right. Tommy couldn’t tell but he was very glad that his friend was coming with him to this new chapter in his life. And who knows, maybe Tommy was just overdramatizing things in fear of the unknown. He believed that the new day would give him at least a few answers to his countless questions.