It was days later, and despite healing well enough, Wylan still felt awkward in the home- in his home. Even that felt odd to say. He could still feel the looming presence of his father hanging over him; some dark omen, a reminder that he shouldn’t be there. It felt odd - the halls of the estate were both familiar and strange, as if walking through memories or a dream, somewhere that he shouldn’t linger too long. As if he were breaking some sacred rule for even trying to be content here. He supposed that, soon enough, it would begin to feel more like home. A real home, Without venom, or judgement, or fear.
Wylan hadn’t been able to sleep - how could he? Sure, it was easier now his ribs were mending, but he still had the weight of a business empire suddenly on his shoulders; the feeling of unease in the house, the memories of Matthias still lingering in his mind… The concern for Nina. For everyone. How could he sleep with those thoughts racing through his mind? No matter how he tried, staring up at the ceiling always conjured thoughts that were better pushed away. And the dark, silent, lonliness of the room only meant that he had no distactions from such things. At least, during the way, the workload and Jesper's conversations were there to distract him, that smooth voice was there to soothe him. The night provided no such luxury. His bed felt too large, empty - Jesper had taken up residence in another of the estate's many rooms, insisting on not pushing Wylan into a situation that may make him uncomfortable. Considerate about taking their time with everything, at least.
Wylan regretted not arguing that it would have been fine. But he had had a feeling that Jesper would only tease at that. Even the thought of sharing a bed permanently made him blush, and he could practically picture Jesper’s smirk if he reacted in such a way. And now - well, it was embarrassing to ask. How would he even word it? He wasn't sure he could even bring the concept up without cringing at his own awkwardness. Some part of him wished that Jesper would just ask him, unafraid to push the issue.
In the end, in an attempt to escape his thoughts, he had wandered out onto the porch to sit on the steps. The fresh air brought peace, some level of calm serenity. And the night was quiet, seldom for the sounds of water, and the rustling of leaves and bushes. Better than the silence of his bedroom for sure. He pulled the blanket further over his shoulders, tugging it tighter. The night may have been relaxing, but it brought a chill in the air that he wasn’t entirely sure was worth being out in. but still, at least it was something real, the feeling of the wind.
He flinched at the sound of a door creaking, then the noise of movement behind him, turning his head to see who it was. For a moment, some panic choked him- should he even be out here? Suddenly, it felt all too much like he was doing something wrong
Moments later, he relaxed, noting who it was. Jesper. Just Jesper. Wylan almost felt like laughing at himself for getting so concerned; why wouldn’t he be allowed to leave at night? And why worry who saw him? This wasn’t - he reminded himself for what felt like the hundredth time - his father's domain anymore, he shouldn't fear his own actions, he no longer needed to watch his step. That felt like it would need more getting used to than running a business would, sometimes.
“I thought I might find you here,” Jesper said, warmly, like a greeting, peering at him. He was silhouetted by the warm light of the room behind him as he stood in the doorway, before he moved to lean up against it casually. “Since you weren’t in your bedroom, or the music room.”
Wylan considered, for a moment, questioning why Jesper had gone to find him in the first place, but quickly pushed it away - all that mattered was that he was here now. And besides, he could help but feel a little coiling spark of happiness that Jesper apparantly decided to actively seek him out, even at this time of night.
“I couldn’t sleep.” He said, turning away from Jesper and back towards the gardens, towards the night sky. “And I thought playing music at this hour would be inconsiderate.”
“In my opinion, it would be a lovely thing to wake up to at any hour.” Jesper commented, voice smooth, flirtatious as ever.
“Flatterer.” He snorted, though the warm fuzzy feeling echoed through his chest all the same. “And why are you awake?”
“Couldn’t sleep either. Decided to try and find you so I had someone to annoy.” Jesper replied, voice soft, somewhere between seriousness and joking. “Just… a lot to think about, huh?”
“I suppose it’s only just hitting me, as well - that I have an entire empire to run.” He exhaled, deeply, shuffling along the step slightly to make room, looking over his shoulder at the other briefly. “Sit down with me?”
“It really is quite a task you have ahead of you,” Jesper began, before complying with his request and Wylan heard him shuffling closer, before sitting down next to him on the step. “But you’re lucky you have the world's best assistant to help out.”
Wylan laughed at that, turning his head to look at him, catching his gaze. “How modest.”
“I’m… sort of serious. I want to be the best- help you any way I can.” Wylan felt a jolt of warmth bolt through him as Jesper’s hand brushed his, before taking it in his own. “I’ve thought about my powers more, about how I need to study them. What Kuwei said-”
“No.” Wylan cut in, sharply, trying and failing to keep the edge out of his tone. The image of Kuwei and Jesper, learning together- He could only imagine what Kuwei might try without Wylan around to ward him off. Alone time with Jesper was likely his dream. He wrinkled his nose, distastefully. “Not Kuwei.”
Jesper took a few seconds to process that information. Then, there it was; the playful smirk - amusement dancing in that gaze. Simultaneously irritating and charming. At least one of them found this funny.
“Do I detect a note of jealousy?” He cooed, tilting his head to the side and looking at Wylan, feigning curiosity.
“Perceptive, aren’t you?” He hummed, tightening his hold on Jesper's hand, only semi-consciously. Despite Jesper's joking, he kept himself serious. “I don’t want you to learn with Kuwei.” He wouldn’t allow it, not in any form. As far as he was concerned, he would have been content if Kuwei and Jesper never went anywhere close to each other again - perhaps he should have made good on that threat of pushing him into the canal after all. Perhaps they should meet again, just for the satisfaction of that.
“I wasn’t thinking Kuwei. I wouldn’t dream of it." Jesper dropped the teasing tone, taking on one more of reassurance, smirk turning into a softer grin. "There are others, meeting more people that my father mentioned. I’d like to learn to master my powers better.”
“Oh. Right,” He smiled, then, grip loosening a little. Comfortable now that Kuwei was at least out of the question completely for now. “Then of course I think you should. It would be good for you.”
“Would you like to see the farm? When I go visit Da?”
“Of course!” He said - perfect, if they found the time, he could imagine it, a while to relax together, to know Jesper’s side of life, far from the glamour and riches of the estate. Interesting, to say the least. “I thought too - maybe a break would be good, once everything's settled, once all the works been done…”
“I’d like that.” Jesper replied, shifting to move even closer. And even now, that action is enough to cause Wylan’s heart to flutter, and, without thinking, he instinctively moved to rest his head against his shoulder, freezing momentarily once he realised what had happened. Jesper, however, didn’t seem to care - or made no noticeable sign that he did at least. “It’s freezing out here,” he continued, shivering to add emphasis. “We should get back inside, or I’m going to end up having to take care of you because you got a cold.”
“Or the other way around.” He murmured, slow, not truly wanting to move out of this position. “It’s not even that bad out here. It’s just a… nightly chill.”
“Nightly chill that makes me freeze my ass off, yeah.” Jesper huffed, leaning away slightly to look at him. “Come on, we can still cuddle inside, you know?”
Wylan blushed at that, unsure fully why. Something about the acknowledgement of it was too much. He coughed, clearing his throat before pulling back too, moving to stand up a little awkwardly. He glanced, nervously, at Jesper as he stepped away to move inside, turning back around to look at him, waiting.
Wylan supposed that this was his chance.
“Jes?” He began, first confidence immediately falling flat as he realised exactly what he was about to ask. “I was thinking; since- since you’re cold, and well, neither of us can sleep-” he faltered, looking away from Jesper, already feeling the heat burning over his cheeks. “We could just go to my room and sleep together- not- not in that way but-” He cursed, internally, at how that sounded - and judging by the look on Jesper’s face, he was already coming up with dozens of different potentially-lewd responses and ways to intentionally misinterpret his words.
Jesper opened his mouth to speak-
“Don’t.” Wylan interrupted, biting his lip and looking back up. “I just meant that we could share a bed for the night, okay? Just - just stay with me, please?”
To his suprise, Jesper didn’t come out with a one-liner, nor any other joke at his expense. Instead, he held out his hand, tugging Wylan closer against his chest in a warm embrace.
“Alright. I’ll stay.”
“Just for tonight.” Wylan reminded him, voice muffled slightly against his chest. He felt the rumble of laughed as he heard it, soft and content.
“Sure thing, sweetheart, whatever you say.”