Antoni had avoided both Sora and Annalisa until the latter was half way back to her own country. He despised her, simply for sharing Sora’s nights while he locked himself away. Antoni feared that if he saw the future queen and no eyes were around, he would have ended her and that would not endear him to the royal family. Even if the truth could stay hidden, no one would believe he had nothing to do with the murder of his lover’s betrothed.
* * *
Instead, during the weeks she stole from them, Antoni learned how to use a human’s voice. It was no easy feat as mer communicated though thought and the idea of pushing air out and manipulating it into sounds seemed both ridiculous and impossible.
But he wanted Sora to hear him as he whispered his name. He wanted to tell him how amazing and perfect and gorgeous he was and how he wanted to spend eternity beside him.
Though it took far more effort than he imagined possible, by the time Annalise set sail for Duband, Antoni could speak as though he had been born on land.
“So,” Tidus said as he lifted his goblet, “it seems you and the princess enjoyed your time together.” He could barely hide the smirk when he saw his brother blush.
“It was… yes, enjoyable. And I do look forward to seeing her again, but…”
“But, what?” Tidus leaned forward. “She is your future queen still, correct?”
“And you will unite our houses in matrimony as decreed by the Treaty of Besitte, yes?”
“Of course. It’s just-”
“Sora? You are a prince of the realm. You know your little affair with the mute boy can never be more than it is. In fact, it should be less. To have a royal sharing his bed with a commoner… it is not the way of things.”
“Please, not now. I, I have a lot to sort through and I’d like some time to figure it all out. On my own.” Sora sank back into the chair cushion. “It’s more than a little confusing.”
“You need to do what is right, for your kingdom and your family. You know that.”
“Why? Why can’t I be like everyone else? Why can’t I choose my own destiny? Since the day I was born, everything in my life has been decided for me. Before him, I never had anything in my life that just made me happy.”
“Yes, the nameless bedmate made everything perfect, did he?”
“Not perfect but as close as a person can hope for. He is the only person who doesn’t expect anything from me that I’m not willing to give. Honestly, Tidus, of all people, I thought you’d understand.”
Tidus knew Sora was correct. He did understand but would never admit it. He detested his own planned future; what had been laid out for him to travel was far removed from the dreams he kept hidden and the heart he kept closed off. But he understood duty and was determined to make his little brother understand, too.
“You and I are not like everyone else and we never will be.” He kept his voice calm and soft. “Wishing it could be different will only make you feel worse. Enjoy you time with him, if you must, but be ready to end it when you and Annalisa take your vows.”
* * *
Sora was happy when Tidus was called away for a meeting of their father’s advisors. He loved Tidus and knew he only wanted the best for him but hated how right he was about duty and obligation, not that he would admit it.
He wanted to do right by his family but also by his desires. And the thought of having to choose one over the other was one he dreaded having. The pull between what he was expected to do and what he wanted threatened to tear him apart; he loved Annalisa and a apart of him did want to marry her but even when he was with her, inside her, he felt an emptiness with him not sharing his bed. He wondered how he could be happy without him when his entire being cried out for his touch.
At least with her gone, Sora was free to indulge in his wicked desires and allow the intense emotions to overtake him.
Alone with his thoughts, he could no longer keep from temptation. With his blood burning and his flesh hard, he jumped from the chair and ran for his chambers. When he threw open the doors, clothes already halfway off, he saw his lover already on the bed, robe thrown open with only a loincloth covering him.
“Hi,” he said, his mind filled with dirty ideas.
“Hello, Sora, my name’s Antoni. Make sure you scream it tonight.”
TO BE CONTINUED