Albel brings his strange brand of comfort to Fayt side in the wake of his father's death. (yes, the fic will be swapping POVs. Albel's in this chapter)
I need to be with someone familiar right now. The others are either intolerable or strangers to me. I...like Fayt. He's such a strange boy, trying to befriend a creature such as myself. He actually tries to understand and even relate to me and the scary thing is, I'm starting to enjoy it. So few make the effort and even they keep me at arm's length. I think...that he might actually accept me. He's not afraid of me or even that much in awe of me. It feels odd to think that someone might enjoy my company. I am, after all, terrible company. Perhaps he likes the challenge.
It would explain why he treats that Sophia girl like a little sister even as her eyes sparkle with her adoration of him. She is no challenge, no prize to be won. If he wanted her, all he'd have to do is crook a finger at her and she'd come running. He is surrounded by people who would die for him but not a one who would kill for him. This I can do; this I will do should anyone threaten a hair on his head. It should come to no surprise that this bothers me.
When I find his room I am confronted with a panel. It is a flat screen with strange graphic buttons on it. I touch the large red one and after a moment I'm rewarded with the sound of Fayt's voice coming from a strange device on the panel.
"Who is it?"
"Let me in, you idiot," I snarl.
Fayt sighs softly, "Hang on Albel."
The door slides open by itself and I step into Fayt's room. It instantly slides shut behind me. I prickle at the vague sense of being trapped, but quickly push it aside.
"What do you want?" Fayt asks. He is sitting in his bed and looking disheveled and slightly wearied. I am taken somewhat aback. He is rarely seen as anything but optimistic, eager, and determined. This is the boy who looked me in the eye and refused to back down from my threats.
This was also a young man who had lost his father to violence. I had experience in that department. Much as I approve of Maria pushing Fayt to put his grief aside for the sake of their mission, I know it must be eating him up inside.
"It occurs to me I never offered my condolences for your father's death," I tell him stiffly.
His expression softens. "Thank you. That means a lot to me, Albel."
I clear my throat as I step closer to Fayt's bed. "I too lost my father when I was only a few years younger than you."
Fayt's eyes are warm with not sympathy but empathy. "Does it ever get better?"
"No," I say. "Every day I miss him and hate that I'd not been able to save him."
"How did he die?" Fayt asks.
Panic seizes me for a moment. Do I want to share my most shameful failure to him? It is disturbing to realize that I did.
"Did you know that I was supposed to take control of the dragon brigade after my father retired from the military?" I ask him conversely.
"You know...I always wondered about that. Why was Vox the general since you were the obvious heir to the position?"
"I failed a ceremony to become part of the dragon brigade. Quite badly in fact," I explain bluntly.
"Really?" Fayt is obviously skeptical. It makes the telling of the end of the story a bit easier.
"Yes. I was...young and overconfident. I did not understand the fundamental bond between the soldier and his dragon. It is like when we defeated The Marquis. We did not tame him; we earned his respect. Back then...I believed that I could just tame a dragon through sheer force of will. That was not to be. The creature was enraged at my audacity that I demanded its servitude. He tried to kill me, but my father shielded me and bore the brunt of its fire breath. My arm was caught in the inferno and all I remember is screaming along with my father. Eventually his stopped but mine did not until I finally passed out from the intense pain. I should have died that day."
"Who saved you?" Fayt asks breathily.
"For some reason the soldiers that had escorted us took me back to Kirlsa, although by all right they should have left me to perish. That is how it is supposed to work. If you fail the ceremony, it is usually because the dragon killed you."
He surprises me when he gets up from his bed and hugs me. No one has even attempted to touch me in years and the feel of his body against me is very odd. My skin crawls a little at the sensation of his embrace, though it is not entirely unpleasant.
"Oh Albel, I'm so sorry!" Fayt exclaims.
He doesn't break the hold for a long while and I find myself relaxing into his touch. I can't deny that it feels good. The long forgotten ghost of desire stirs in me, but I can't even consider that right now.
"It's not your fault," Fayt whispers, breath warm against my ear.
I place my good hand on the back of his neck. Fayt's skin is soft and his hair is silky beneath my fingertips. In the darkest corner of my mind, I long to devour him. My mind dwells on carnal fantasies about what Fayt's body might feel like nude and straining with lust beneath me, what his mouth would taste like, how he would look as I fuck him. I close my eyes, trying to will away these intense, nearly foreign feelings.
"Perhaps," I reply in a voice gone husky with my barely reigned surge of lust, "You are not to blame either."
"I know," Fayt looks into my face and his gaze is soft and languid. My heart begins to pound as his face moves closer to mine. The fool was going to kiss me!
Startled, I push him away hastily. Even though I'd been thinking about it, that doesn't mean I am ready to enact it!
"What in hell are you doing?" I bark defensively.
"Ah sorry," Fayt looks sheepish. "It's just...um, I think I like you."
"I see," I scowl.
"Sorry, sorry," Fayt is blushing intensely and it weakens even my resolve. "I'll never do it again."
"Well now..." I narrow my eyes at him, "Let's not be too hasty in that decision."
Fayt sucks in a sharp breath and looks surprised. I can't help but smirk at him. Tentatively, I reach out my real hand and place it against the side of his face. He leans into my touch and arches his throat as I stroke my fingers along the side of his neck. So trusting. I could snap his neck right now but the thought carries little weight with me for a multitude of reasons. For one, I am trapped on a ship traversing the heavens and another, there are several people on this vessel that would kill me for such a transgression. Anyway, I rather like this. His skin is warm and his expression is alluring. He wants this; he wants me and even though it's astounding, I am not truly made of stone. Fayt would let me kiss me. He would probably turn wanton under my touch. Perhaps he would even beg for his release if I teased him.
"Be patient," I drawl darkly.
"Okay," Fayt gasps.
"I'm going," I announce awkwardly.
"Alright," Fayt nods, "The door's open. If you approach it, it'll move aside automatically."
How novel. It does exactly that and I quickly enter the hallway outside of his room. My mind swims with what had transpired. I must confess intimate affairs are not exactly something I am terribly experienced with. I am not the romantic warrior women seem to want and I am too harsh and demanding for most men. They get caught up by my fair face and are blind-sided by the brutality of my passion. I imagine Fayt to be as hungry to touch me as I him.
This is getting complicated. I have to consider if these emotions are worth the trouble. Fayt's companions would not approve of this affair. Would he allow them to influence him and if he did, could I really deal with the fallout? No, I don't think I can lose another person that I care about. Everybody leaves in the end. I am too harsh a man for such relationships.
I try to push my burgeoning affection for Fayt away. It is dangerous in a way that I cannot fight. My sword does no good when it comes to feelings.
Would it be that I could cut them out. Life would be so much less complicated if every human interaction were as simple as battle.