Hey all, here's a short Orphen piece from me. I've only seen the anime, so nothing manga is in here. There's the tiniest hint of shounen-ai here. . .more pre-shounen-ai. Hope you enjoy!
They came back to me. The thought warms me more than the camp fire we set up. I can't help but give a little grin to the two sleepers curled in their sleeping bags. After the final battle and the split up afterwards I thought I'd be on my own again, traveling the world without my apprentice or partner. Majic was safe being taught magic at the Tower of Fangs. They could more than likely teach him better than I could. . . or at least more correctly than I could. And judging from how fast he learned under my tutelage, I knew Majic would thrive at the school.
And Cleao left to go back home to her family. It was obvious they meant a lot to her-she had thrown herself into my company to follow after her dead father's sword afterall-so I thought she'd be happy. I was glad she was with the people she loved and loved her back, she deserved that much.
Somehow along the journey those two had wormed their way into my life and even into my heart. Majic has such a. . . well, he just makes you feel better by being around him. He's very earnest in his studies, and even though he tries to impress me and do what I ask, he also stands up for what he believes in. There is a fire in that boy and I want to be there the day it finally rages. But right now he's so young and naive. He fell in and out of love in a matter of days for goodness sake! Sometimes I was afraid for him, afraid he would be lost to the harsh world, losing his bright eyed optimism.
He proved to me though, that even if the world showed its ugly face to Majic, Majic could show his smiling face right back. Majic is strong, and there's no one I'd rather have with me on a journey.
Cleao is a bit more complicated. In the beginning she was a pretty face who could swing a sword (not very accurately mind you). Though she was an annoyance who couldn't cook, there was also a certain magnetism that attracts people to her. She gained my attention as soon as I saw her. That didn't mean I wanted her to come with on my journey though.
I know that by the end of our quest she had come to love me. Maybe she still does, maybe she doesn't, I don't care to speculate. I feel a little bad for her-at the time, all I cared about was Azalie. But I did see her affection, and once I finally saw it I tried my hardest to be a little softer, nicer to her. I couldn't return her affection, but I appreciated it none the less.
I don't think I will ever be able to return her affections. I do have feelings for her, but they aren't what she wants from me. I love her like the family I never had, save for Azalie. Oh Azalie. I loved Azalie with all my heart and soul. I loved her as my sister, as a friend, as a mother, and as a woman. With Azalie, I would take whatever she would give me. There was a long time I would have done literally anything for her.
I still love Azalie, but I respect her and myself too much to feel that way anymore. I understand she needs to start over with her child, her heart. And I need to start fresh too, with my apprentice and partner.
Now that I realize the extent of what I was willing to do for Azalie's love, I fear what would happen were my companions to feel the same way about me. But sitting here watching them sleep, the warm red glow of our fire highlighting their young faces, I know better than to belittle their beliefs and morals. Cleao, though she loves me, has enough sense in her to let me be if things go bad. She tried to stop me from saving Azalie when she knew it might kill me, but let me try in the end. And Majic knows there are things one has to do no matter what. Although with Majic, I bet he would protect me with his life if allowed.
There's no way I'll ever allow it.
Just thinking of that sweet young man lifeless at my feet sends shivers down my spine. I turn my head to study his relaxed face, making sure he's okay. To my surprise, his crystal blue eyes are open and staring at me. Our eyes lock and I see his cheeks redden a bit before a smile lights up his face. He breaks eye contact, crawls out of his sleeping bag, and makes his way over to sit next to me. Our shoulders and thighs touch, sending a fire through me. I care for Majic, of that there is no doubt. He reminds me of myself looking up to Azalie, but he's completely different at the same time. He loves me as a teacher and a friend, tries to do me proud and takes all the shit I throw at him. I feel very protective of him and extremely proud whenever he performs above my expectations. If Majic were to ever reach for love from me. . . more than a teacher and friend. . . I think I would give him what Azalie never gave me.
I know that just a few minutes ago I was thinking on how I couldn't return Cleao's affections, but Majic, he's different. I won't love him just because Azalie never gave me that kind of love, Majic means more to me than that. In a few years down the road, when Cleao has found what she's really looking for in life and Majic has learned enough not to need a teacher, he will definitely make a perfect partner. He's powerful, I can see that much already, so I won't have to worry about him holding his own. He's also smart and has the ability to make good decisions on the fly. Most importantly, even though most of the time he sticks to morals and the law, Majic has that little bit of demon in him to go along with a lot of my plans while still letting me know when others go too far. As well as we work together now, I know we could be unstoppable once he finishes his apprenticeship.
Cleao loves me because I represent her fantasy and dream of a life of adventure. If Majic loves me, it would be because I introduced him to the life he wants to live. They seem similar, but in the end Cleao will find someone who can give her everything she needs, not wants. I'll be "that guy" from her teenage years who she remembers fondly. But Majic. . .
I'm brought out of my thoughts when I feel slender fingers intertwine with my own, joined hands nestled between our bodies. I look to Majic in question, but he keeps his gaze on the stars, flush face the only hint giving away his emotions. Raising my eyebrow, I too go back to star gazing, not letting go of the hand in mine. After a moment of silence Majic finally speaks.
"I'm glad you came back for us, Oshou-sama," he says quietly. I give my patented smirk.
"It was getting pretty boring without you guys around." That was about as close as I'd get to admitting I was glad they had tried to find me as well. I think Majic knew what I meant-he was always very good at reading my true thoughts. He smiled brightly and squeezed my hand gently, like he was afraid if he brought attention to our entwined fingers I would take my hand away. I squeezed back in order to let him know that wouldn't happen.
We sat in silence another few minutes before a light chuckle shook his frame.
"There is one thing though," he said, poking at my curiosity. He turned to face me, wearing a smirk that almost matched my own. "Thanks to your teaching I can't simply say 'Kaze-o', I have to spout out a whole poem before my magic comes." I let out a short bark that quickly gives way to quiet laughter, which then spreads to Majic. We stay quiet though, not wanting to wake Cleao. We probably looked like fools laughing together under the stars, but I couldn't have been happier. I needed this laughter, this familiarity, to put me back in my normal mindset. After our laughter died down I ruffled his hair affectionately and told him to go back to sleep. Instead of leaving me to return to his sleeping bag, Majic patted his hair down and laid his head on my shoulder. Blonde hair brushed against the bare skin of my neck.
"Good night, Oshou-sama," Majic whispered as I watched him from the corner of my eye. His eyes fell shut and his breathing evened out into the recognizable sleeping pattern. Our hands stayed locked together.
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