Lucien had admired a great number of Fae over his many years. Seldom had he ever acted on his desires as it was always safer to avoid the pain and suffering his previous lovers had always endured, generally by his family’s hands.
Or rejected mating bonds.
He was no longer bitter, it had been many years and Elain and Lucien had become great friends since then and as it turned out, someone else had become the object of his affections. Someone who meant a great deal more to Lucien than he had previously experienced and he wasn’t sure how to broach the topic without losing him in the process.
Mostly, it was fear. Fear of ridicule, fear of rejection. But he couldn’t ignore the overwhelming need to reach out. To touch, to come clean, to claim. And hope, against all odds, that his sentiments would be returned.
Lucien thought back to all the days and nights spent in Azriel’s company. So many hours, full of sarcasm and sass. No one else could match Lucien himself in such games except for the Spymaster.
Full of dry jokes and a quiet comfort that neither of them had ever hoped to have in the midst of the chaos of their lives and their court, Azriel had become someone he cherished above all else. And sometimes the way Azriel looked at him, he could have sworn the same attraction was reflected back in his warm hazel eyes.
In those moments, Lucien found the desire to brush back the dark lock of hair that had fallen into Azriel’s eyes almost unbearable. So when that need struck, he would fold his hands into his lap, wringing them until the blood all but left them and until he regained control of them enough to trust them not to betray his sensibilities.
It was exhausting pretending he wasn’t in love with the Shadowsinger.
Finally, after months and months of his silent pining, Lucien was ready to take that leap. He was willing to wait no longer for his chance at happiness. However far-fetched it may be.
Lucien left his room in the House of Wind, nervously adjusting the lapels of his fine jacket as he made his way towards the sitting area where the court normally relaxed after dinner. He smoothed his already smooth hair down, more out of anxiousness than necessity.
His boots clicked loudly on the marble floors and every echo that came back at him caused him to flinch.
“Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic,” he pleaded under his breath as he rounded the corner.
Lucien stopped short as he beheld Azriel caressing Elain’s face with one of his beautiful scarred hands and placing a long kiss upon her forehead. Lucien’s heart twisted within his chest so painfully that he couldn’t breathe. He turned away, hoping they hadn’t heard him or seen him approach and all but ran back to his room.
He was a damned fool. Azriel would never choose a disgraced male like himself over the purity and beauty of Elain Archeron. The flower growing seer herself. Of course Lucien could see the perfection of their match. Shadows and life. They balanced each other, complimented one another in a way Lucien’s fire never could.
He closed the door to his bedroom behind him, locking it as he did and moved to sit at his desk.
“Stupid, stupid fool.” He muttered, his elbows placed on the desk so he could hold his head in his hands. Lucien couldn’t believe how ridiculous he had been. Why would anyone ever resort to such low levels in a companion, in a lover.
Useless. It was useless to look for happiness when all there was to be had was disappointment.
A knock sounded at the door, pulling Lucien from his self-deprecating thoughts.
“Lucien? Open the door.”
He wouldn’t. He was embarrassed, his eyes lined with silver and his cheeks red. Azriel couldn’t see him like this, he couldn’t see the crushing realisations and disappointment and his fanciful assumptions crashing around him, like everything good always did.
He didn’t answer.
“Lucien, open up.” Az banged on the door three times.
Still, Lucien didn’t respond.
“Luce, if you don’t open this door, I will be forced to smash it down and I will not be very pleased with you if that is the only way I can see you.”
“Just leave me be, please. I do not wish to be disturbed.”
Az sighed and then there was two steps in the hallway before the door came crashing open and Lucien jumped out of his seat.
“What the hell!” He shouted, as Azriel waltzed into the room, a smug smile on his face.
“I did warn you I would do it.”
“I do not want you here.”
“My shadows tell me differently.”
Lucien sat down on the foot of his bed instead, a scowl across his face. How unfair to know everything before everyone else did - especially when it was information he was no longer willing to say aloud.
“Convenient,” he drawled sarcastically.
Azriel sat beside him on the foot of the bed and looked over at him, reading every emotion Lucien wore so obviously on his face.
“What you saw with Elain, it was nothing. Often times, she has troubles with her visions and requires someone to discuss them so she can make sense of them.”
“And you’re that person?” Of course he is, who wouldn’t want Azriel to help them decode things to which most could not understand.
Azriel smiled crookedly, as though his shadows told him exactly Lucien’s train of thought.
“Not fair, Az.” Lucien all but groaned.
“Do you wish to know what her vision was?”
Lucien finally made eye contact with him and his breath caught as he unabashedly admired the sharp lines of his beautiful face, the stunning hazel of his eyes, full of an inviting warmth and that tempting lock of hair dangling in his vision.
“If you feel so inclined to share,” Lucien admitted, greedy for any information Azriel would share with him. Pathetic, he was utterly pathetic and puddy in the beautiful males’ hands.
“She saw fire engulfing shadows, consuming it before fusing together to forge something great, something powerful. Elain wasn’t sure what it meant, but I did.” Azriel reached for Lucien’s hands and held them within his own.
Lucien cherished the contact, his stomach flip-flopping, the rough feel of his hands on his own soft flesh. The hands he wished would touch him elsewhere, worship him as he so desperately craved.
“It was you, taking my heart and altering me so irrevocably that I would bend to any wish - any desire you had. That I would love you with my whole being as I have never loved another. That we would finally admit what we were to one another instead of pretending we were anything less.”
Lucien’s eyes had widened. Impossible. It was utterly impossible that Azriel felt the same. Yet here he was, baring his soul. Declaring himself. A tear welled up and spilled down his cheek and Azriel reached to brush it away.
“Say something, Luce.”
Lucien took a deep breath, steeling himself and gathering his wits.
“I would very much like to kiss you, Az.”
Azriel’s eyes twinkled. “Do your worst.”
Lucien closed the distance, sealing his lips against Azriel’s, moaning as they finally came together. Azriel’s hands reached to tangle in Lucien’s long red hair and Lucien shuddered, coming undone.
Az’s lips were urgent against his own, searing him. Lucien slipped his tongue inside Azriel’s mouth and it was Az’s turn to groan. Their tongues danced against one another and Lucien thought he might combust.
It was real. He was kissing Azriel and Azriel was kissing him back. Loved him in return. Lucien pulled away briefly, nipping at Az’s lower lip and then kissing it soothe the sting.
“Unless you plan to bed me here and now, with a house full of fae with surprisingly good hearing, we best stop now.” Lucien’s cheeks were flushed, and despite very much wanting to take Azriel to bed, now was not the time.
Azriel chuckled, “Fair point. No, I wish to take my time with you and this is most certainly not the place.” Azriel ran his hands through his short hair, brushing that lock away.
Lucien took a steadying breath, next time. Next time he would be free to touch as he willed it. “When you explained it to Elain, her vision I mean, what did she say?”
Azriel smiled softly, pushing Lucien’s hair over his shoulder. “She wished us every happiness and begged we allow her to plan our wedding.”
Lucien chuckled, “I like the sound of that.”
Azriel nodded, “As do I.” He linked his fingers through Lucien’s.
“I love you, too.”