Actions

Work Header

In His Majesty's Service

Work Text:

I was a lowly soldier before he found me that night.

As I pounded away at one of the machines in the training room, I heard the door open, but didn’t let up, pouring all my frustrations out into my punches. It wasn’t until I heard a slight cough that I stopped, turning around in anger to tell who ever it was to fuck off, but gasped as I saw my Prince standing before me, a smirk on his lips

“At ease, soldier. Your performance was quite the show… You’re rather good.”

The words stumbled out of my mouth as I greeted him, and I bowed at the waist, not moving until he commanded it.

“W-what can I do for you, sir?” I stutter slightly, watching his smirk grow wider. In the few years I had been under the command of the Prince’s army, I had yet to meet him face to face and it was slightly overwhelming.

He stepped forward, his eyes locked with mine and that same smirk on his lips.

“Show me what you can do.”

I blinked slowly, not sure what he expected. At my bewildered look he sighed, cocking a brow as he spoke.

“I mean, show me what kind of power you have, girl. What is your best attack?”

I blush, feeling like a complete idiot, but answered him as best as I could.

“I – I’m best with hand-to-hand, s-sir… My last teacher pushed me towards it when he found my Ki attacks lacking…”

Oh it stung to admit that, but this was my prince. I could have no secrets from him.

He stepped closer, his eyes narrowing. He took my hand, pulling it palm up and level with my heart. Pressing my palm open, he let go, making me shiver slightly at the contact. It had felt like electricity running through me when we touched, and the loss of the feeling was almost tragic.

“Gather your energy and form it in your hand,” he told me, his arms crossing over his chest plate.

I did as he said, letting my Ki gather at my core before pushing it out. It flickered in my palm, raising my hopes that it was going to behave, only to have it fizzle out at the last moment.

To say that I was pissed and embarrassed would be an understatement.

I felt anger surge through me, watching as he smirked once more and it added fuel to the fire. With a growl, I brought the Ki back full force, throwing the ball of energy that had collected there at him before I could stop myself. He batted it away, sending it blasting into the metal walls of the training room, a dangerous glint in his eyes.

“And what did you think you were going to accomplish with that?” he asked softly, his voice lethal.

I swallowed loudly, feeling fear creep up my body for the first time. At the very least I was going to be punished, and probably stuck in solitary confinement for a week or two.

But I didn’t think I would get off that easily.

I thought I was dead.

“I – I didn’t mean-“ I tried to stutter, but he cut me off, holding a finger up to halt me.

“Do not lie to me, girl. Why did you do that?” he said, stepping closer to me. I was shaking by this time, fearing for my life. I cleared my throat, accepting my fate, knowing my words would probably piss him off enough to do something already.

“Be-because of my t-temper, sir… I – the look you gave me made me angry and – and I –“

He snorted, shaking his head.

“You used your Ki. It was weak, but not enough so that you should abandon working on it.” he told me. I stared at him dumbly, unsure of what was going on.

Where was the punches? The Galick Gun that he was famous for? Why was I still standing before him and not knocked to the floor?

“But – But I tried to hit you with it, Sir!” I exclaimed. The realization hit me that he was letting me go, that he had wanted to test me, and –

And I burst into sobs, making him jump.

I heard him growl lightly, making a sound of frustration.

“Why are you crying, girl?”

I sucked in my breath, trying to gain control of myself. I peered up at him, watching the look of amused annoyance play across his face.

“I –I’m sorry, s-sir… I just – I thought you were going to – to kill me…” I squeaked, pulling a very loud laugh from him. He calmed down after a minute, giving me the most peculiar smile I had ever seen before. He stepped closer to me, reaching up and brushing my hair to the side.

“I just want to see what would make you use your energy. You have potential and we are going to see just how much potential you have, alright?” he whispered, making my eyes widen.

“Y-yes s-sir...”

He made a face, something between annoyance and resignation.

“At ease, girl. If I’m going to train you, enough formalities.” He huffed. I couldn’t hold back the nervous chuckle that came out, but I clamped my hand over my mouth, trying to.

He just smirked, reaching up and taking my hand away, holding onto it as it came back down to my side.

“What sh-should I call you, sir?” I whispered, my face heating up at the contact. A small blush had broken across his cheeks, and his lips quirked.

“You can call me Vegeta when we are alone, but when we are with others, you will have to switch back to formal address.”

His voice was so soft, with a tinge of regret in it. I wondered at what it all meant, but he let go of my hand, making me reach for him involuntarily. I slammed my hand back against my side, cursing my forwardness, but he just gave me a soft smile.

“What is your name and rank, girl?”

I blushed again at my lack of respect, but he just brushed it aside.

“It’s G-Galanga, sir- uh..Vegeta… and I’m Second Class…”

He nodded slightly, the smirk back in place.

“Alright then, let’s work on that energy, now that the formalities are out of the way, shall we?”

And so it went for the next two months.

He would meet with me in the training room every night. Sometimes he was so exhausted he would just watch me, nodding off as he sat on the bench at the back of the room. I never disturbed him, and only had to wake him once when it was past midnight and I was heading to bed. He looked up at me, slightly shocked, but I just told him it was late and that he wouldn’t want to sleep very long in the position he was in.

The next night was the first time he kissed me.

He had brought me to the elite training room. Being a second class, I had never seen this room before, and was slightly angry at all of the extra equipment they had. It must have shown on my face, because he had started laughing quietly, shaking his head.

“Don’t worry, Galanga. With the way you’re training it going, you’ll be here using this room soon,” he chuckled, pressing some buttons on the control panel by the door. I felt the pressure in the room build and my body get heavier as the gravity increased. I went to take off my armor, but he stopped me, shaking his head.

“No, leave it. You need to be able to battle in anything and any situation.”

I tried not to grumble too loudly. If he heard me, he didn’t let on, because he just got into his stance, waiting for me to start off.

It was harder in the dense gravity to get moving enough to do anything. It felt as if I was trying to walk in quicksand and trying to carry weights around at the same time. I knew I wouldn’t last long and sure enough, about ten minutes later I hit my knees, panting for breath.

He walked over and flipped the switch off and I felt the room go back to normal. I was dejected; here he had brought me to do more and I couldn’t even last! I felt tears of shame sting my eyes and hung my head, letting my hair fall into my face to hide it.

Then I felt his hand upon my shoulder, rubbing it gently.

I looked up, seeing the proud smile on his face and couldn’t understand why it was there.

“That was amazing, Galanga… Most Elites start out at ten times the normal gravity and can only last five minutes! You just lasted ten at fifty times!” he exclaimed, seeming more animated then he had ever been before. I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand, hoping he hadn’t noticed my tears, but he did at the last moment. Crouching down next to me, he pulled my hand away, searching my face.

“Are you hurt?”

I shook my head, feeling my chest warm at his concern.

“N-no… I thought – I thought that I hadn’t – hadn’t done well…” I stumbled over the words, watching his eyes narrow.

“Don’t think that unless I say it, alright? If I tell you that you need to improve, then you do. But don’t assume, Galanga. You have more power then you give yourself credit for…” his voice became softer as he spoke, and then he was leaning in, his eyes on my lips.

Before I could move, I felt him kiss me. His lips were dry, but soft as they captured mine. His hand fell to my hip, pressing gently. I was shocked at first and couldn’t move, my mind coming to a complete halt. As he started to pull away, something in me kicked in and grabbed the back of his head, pulling him into another one. Our lips moved together slowly, working more and more towards deepening, when I felt his tongue brush against my lips.

A shiver ran through me and I moaned softly, giving him what he wanted.

From there, everything thing sort of became fuzzy. Our bodies pressed together as our tongues teased one another. He coaxed mine into his mouth, sucking it as he ran his around it, swallowing every moan that escaped me.

We were brought back to reality as someone cleared their throat, making us back away quickly.

I looked up, my face flushed red, seeing a tall Elite standing there, a grin on his face. His hair was wild, even for a Saiyan, spiking out all over his head. Next to him stood Radditz, First Class, and one of the biggest assholes you will ever meet. His leering grin had me glaring at him as Vegeta helped me stand, his hand going to the small of my back.

“Galanga, this is Kakarott, First Class, and Radditz, First Class.” He said, nodding to each one. I bowed to Kakarott, who returned the gesture with a smile, but continued to glare at Radditz, who just smirked at me.

“Not sure why you have this pipsqueak here, Vegeta. You could do better going to one of the brothels –“

He was cut off as Vegeta’s fist met his stomach, causing him to keel over with a groan.

“You will hold your tongue, idiot, unless I say otherwise, understand?” he seethed, his hands balling into fists. I stared at him in wide-eyed surprise, feeling my stomach flutter with happiness.

He had just took down one of the people I hated most, sending him to the floor like he was nothing.

Radditz had been a thorn in my side for as long as I could remember. He had been one of the older recruits that had helped train my class when I had first arrived on the ship. He singled me out, using the teachers’ recommendation about my Ki attacks to humiliate me.

It felt really good watching him get punched like that, though.

Kakarott started laughing, a light sound that most Saiyans didn’t have by his age. He pulled Radditz to his feet, still chuckling.

“You should know better, brother. Besides, if Vegeta has her in here, then she must have some power.” He said, making my brow raise.

This was Radditz’s brother?

There had been rumor that Radditz’s brother had been sent to the North Quadrant before the Saiyan’s defeat over Frieza, and that he had pretty much been forgotten about. But it was said that when they did return to get him, he had set up life on the planet he was supposed to destroy. It would make sense, given his calm demeanor and happy smiles, I had thought.

Vegeta seemed to calm at his words, making me wonder how close they were.

“Kakarott is correct; Galanga has been working the past couple of months and surpassed her old power long ago. She is on her way to being made First Class soon.” He told them, a tinge of pride behind his words. While Radditz gaped at me in shock, Kakarott congratulated me, asking if I wanted to spar with him sometime.

I felt Vegeta jerk me back away from him, holding me at his side as small growl escaped his lips.

My heart skipped a beat at his possessiveness. Kakarott pouted, sending his prince pleading eyes.

“Aww, come on ‘Geta! I just want to fight her! That’s all! I promise!” he whined, shocking me to the core.

Radditz snorted in disgust, giving his brother a death glare.

But Vegeta…. Well, he seemed to be contemplating his words, and wasn’t bothered by the nickname apparently.

“Fine, but I want to be there.” He conceded, making the taller male grin happily.

“Thanks ‘Geta! Wait till I tell Gohan!” he exclaimed, grabbing his brother by his arm and pulling him from the room, leaving us alone once more.

Vegeta sighed, turning to me with a slight blush.

“You don’t have to spar with him if you don’t want to,” he began, reaching up to caress the side of my face. My eyes fluttered and I almost forgot how to speak.

“I’m sure you noticed my… lenience with him, too,” he continued, his hand going to cradle the back of my head. “Kakarott is a special case... When we found him on Earth, he had a – well, you couldn’t call it a family,” he said, scrunching up his nose slightly, “he had an un-bonded mate that was very cruel to him. When he first arrived there, there was an accident that resulted in a head injury. He – he couldn’t remember any of the instructions that were added to his pod, nor did he know either Radditz or myself. After we explained everything, his ‘mate’,” he almost spat the word out, “demanded he take himself and their son and leave. So did all of his so-called friends.”

“He begged us not to destroy them, and I agreed, but only because he swore to fight by my side if we would take him with us.”

I watched as a myriad of emotions came over his face; pity, anger, sadness. But there was also something akin to affection as well. Kakarott was important to him, I knew now.
Before I could try and process anymore, he leaned in, kissing me once again, but chastely this time. He ended it before it could get heated, smiling against my lips as I moaned softly.

“Be patient, Langa…” he purred, his shortening of my name sending my heart into flutters. “Control yourself and the next time we meet, I’ll give you more. I promise.”

It took me a second to register his words, but they finally cleared through the fog.

“The next time? Won’t that be tomorrow night?”

He sighed, placing a kiss on my forehead.

“No, I’m needed on the next purge. It a high-level attack and they need all the experienced warriors they can use. I’ll be back in a week.” He said, his eyes shining at the thought of battle. I grinned at him, but felt worry creep up my spine at the thought of him going.

And it stayed there the entire week. Before he left, he had granted me permission to use the Elite training room, giving the guards my rank number and introducing me to them.

And it was where I stayed, trying to keep the anxiousness from setting in.

As the day of his arrival came, I paced the room. I couldn’t do anything; I couldn’t concentrate on training, nor could I meditate. Every sound I heard made me look up or glance out the door to see if it was him.

As midnight drew near, I gathered my things, tears of worry and disappointment in my eyes. If he had come back, then he must have been too tired to come and see me.

But if he hadn’t…

The thought hit me, making me fall to my knees and sob. I knew that he would fight to the death to uphold his pride and that scared me more than anything.

I was crying so loud that I never heard the door open, never noticed him come up behind me, until I felt his arms go around me, pulling me to his chest. I wrapped my arms around him, holding him as tight as I could, realizing for the first time that I loved him.

And it scared the hell out of me.

He chuckled softly, running his hand over my hair as he lifted my face to his, kissing me.

“Did you miss me that badly?” he quipped softly, making me break out into a fresh round of sobs. I just held onto him, focusing on his hands rubbing my back so I could calm myself.

As the tears dried, he lifted my face to his, his look telling me he wanted an explanation.

“I was worried,” I whispered, hoping that it didn’t make him angry. Would he think I thought him so weak that I had to worry over him? Or would he be annoyed at my dramatics?

His brow furrowed in confusion.

“You were worried for me?” he asked, sounding as if it was the strangest thing he had ever heard.

“Of course I was! You – you would give your all in a battle, Vegeta! Even – even your life!” I cried, all the pent up anxiety finally spilling forward.

I was about to apologize for my outburst, when he sat back onto the floor in shock. He gazed at me like he had never seen me before and went to speak several times, but no words came out.

I took his hand in mine, holding it in my lap as he gathered his thoughts. Finally, he met my eyes, something warm and nervous in his onyx orbs.

“I’ve never had the luxury of having someone to – to show concern over my wellbeing,” he began in a low tone, “My family died in the war with Frieza, leaving me to be raised by the guards and servants that had survived… I – I don’t even know what to say.” He chuckled quietly, pressing his lips to the tip of my nose. Looking down at me, I saw what he couldn’t say in his eyes. I knew it was hard for him to try and say what he felt, so I leaned in and kissed him, feeling him smile against my lips.

He deepened it, pulling me into his lap as his tongue coaxed mine out. The kiss turned open mouthed, our tongues dancing together erotically. I was pretty much putty in his hands at this point, my body flooding with heat. As we stopped to catch our breath, I leaned my head against his, small whimpers coming from me that I had no control over.
I felt his shaking hand move up my body, stopping the hem of my spandex top. He slid them under the material, gazing up at me, asking for permission.

He was the first man that I had ever been with in any way. I had shared a kiss or two, but nothing beyond that. But I felt my body burn for his touch, turning any fear or nervousness to ashes.

I curled my hips, feeling something hard against my core that made me moan at the contact. Biting back a groan, he took that as conformation, his hands gliding under the tight material, going up to cup my bare breasts.

His fingers brushed over my nipples, making them stiffen on contact, and I arched my back, gasping at this new feeling pulsing through me. I wanted more, but I didn’t know what I wanted more of.

Feeling brave, my hand searched out the hardness I felt beneath me, running over it with my open palm, feeling him stiffen. I thought that he didn’t want me to touch him there, or that I had hurt him, and made to move my hand, but he stopped me.

Looking up at me with wild lust in his eyes, he pressed me harder against him, moaning for the first time.

“Don’t – don’t stop, Langa...”

His words almost sent me over the edge. I needed him to – to do something! Anything!

“Please...” I whispered, not sure if I was being to bold or too demanding. “Please Vegeta… I – I need you… I want you…”

His body froze, his hand stopping upon my breast.

I watched his Adam’s apple bounce as he swallowed nervously, his eyes staring into mine.

“Are – are you sure? Think before you speak,” he added as I made to blurt out a yes. “Think about it. I don’t want you making any rash decisions and just –“

“Yes… I’m sure of it. I want you, Vegeta.” I said, cutting him off.

He stared at me for a long time, seeming unable to make his decision. But I wasn’t about to take no for an answer tonight. I grinded against him, pulling a moan from his lips as I pressed our bodies together, feeling the bulge twitch against my apex.

He grabbed my waist, holding me against him as he stood, my legs wrapping around him as he carried me out the door.

We only saw the guards, who paid us no mind as we walked by them. Or if they did, we never noticed, as our lips were attached to one another. I was surprised he even got us to his room, but he knew the passage by heart now, so it was easy for him.

We landed on his bed after we entered his rooms, a tangle of limbs, never breaking the kiss.

I had always had the same fantasy that most young girls have; I thought my first time would be sweet and slow, that the man I gave myself to would seduce me with sweet whispers, making love to me for the first time.

Reality was a whole lot different, but better than anything I could have imagined.

Hands moved to remove clothing at a frantic pace, until we lay there in nothing but our skin, our limbs entwined as he held me beneath him, his lips still on mine. His hands felt like silk as they glided down between my legs, his long nimble fingers dipping in to brush across my clit, causing me to gasp as pleasure shot through my body, unlike anything I had ever felt before. He leaned back, breaking our kiss to look down at me, a sly grin on his lips.

His fingers moved down to my entrance, pressing in and making me cry out in pain. His eyes widened, stopping and withdrawing from me.

“Are you – Haven’t you ever been with – with anyone?” he asked, shock and nervousness in his voice. I blushed deeply, shaking my head.

“N-no… Is – is that bad?” I asked, my nativity evident in my answer. I had rendered him speechless, his mouth snapping shut as he started down at me. I began to get nervous, thinking that he didn’t want me, that I had either disgusted him or that he didn’t want someone so inexperienced, and went to get up, only to have him hold me in place.

“Are you sure you want to – to give yourself to me, Langa?” he whispered, and I saw fear in his eyes for the first time. His hand rested on my hip, caressing softly as he waited for me to answer. I knew I wanted him. I might have been inexperienced and young, but I knew in my heart that I wouldn’t want to give myself to anyone but him.
I brushed my fingers over his jaw and smiled up at him, raising up and kissing him gently.

“I’m sure,” I whispered calmly, taking his hand and guiding him back to my core as I lay back down again.

His fingers brushed against my clit again, making me cry out his name. His mouth lowered, taking one of my nipples between his lips and sucking gently, turning me into a whimpering mess by the time he moved to the other one. His mouth was pure ecstasy on my body and I never wanted it to end.

But then he moved lower, and then lower still, leaving a burning trail of kisses in the wake of his lips, all the way down to my slit.

His tongue danced around it, making my breath hitch.

“How far have you been before?” he whispered deeply, his breath hitting my sensitive core and making me moan in response.

“J-just k-kissing…” I replied, watching his eyes darken with desire. He smirked up at me, his mouth lowering until he hovered over my clit, his tongue coming out to brush over it.

“So you’re untouched, other than me?” he asked, almost moaning as he spoke.

I nodded, unable to speak as his breath alone was making me weak. He grinned, his eyes taking on a wild, animalistic glint.

“Good.”

And with that, his tongue slid between my folds, making me scream his name.

He lapped at my clit, taking the small bud between his lips every now and again and sucking on it, making me thrash around to the point that he had to hold me down. I felt like I was going to explode, that my body was on fire and that explosion was the only thing that would put the fire out.

He pushed my hips up, his tongue dipping down and sliding inside of me, my loud cries echoing off of his walls. His muffled moans vibrated through me, making my eyes roll back into my head. I couldn’t take much more.

“You taste divine…” he murmured, raising up enough so I could hear his words. When I moaned in response, he grinned again, slamming his tongue back inside of me, wiggling it around and making me try to climb up the bed. It was too much. It felt too good.

And when his finger and thumb found my clit, taking the small bud between them and stroking in time with his tongue, I lost it. I screamed his name, straining my voice, as I climaxed, my juices pouring into his waiting mouth. He moaned, his lips sucking against me as he tried to drink it all down, his fingers tightening on my hips.

He finally let me go, panting as he sat up, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand.

“Was that what you expected?” he asked smugly, grinning up at me. I laughed shakily, reaching for him.

“No… that – that was a-amazing…” I panted, wrapping my arms around him when he re-joined me on the bed. I pulled him close, kissing him. My taste still clung to his lips, making me moan into it. He pushed me gently back onto the mattress, moving between my legs slowly, not letting my lips move from his until he was settled.

“This is going to hurt, Langa,” he whispered when we broke apart, “I’ll go as easy I can possible go, But it will still hurt,” he warned softly, making me nod. I knew it would, having heard stories from my bunk mates on how their first times had gone. I braced myself when he lined up his cock with my opening, making him chuckle softly.

“Just relax, my love… I’ll go slowly,” he said, leaning down closer to me. He pushed in, taking my lips in another kiss and swallowing my cries.

And it did hurt.

A lot.

But he kissed me softly, pulling my thoughts away from the pain as his skilled tongue made my mind hazy, making me gasp when he came to a rest, fully sheathed inside of me.
He lay there for a moment, letting my body relax around him, still kissing me gently.

After I began to relax more, I moved my hips, testing the waters, you could say, and moaned at the feeling. He broke away, raising up on his arms to hover above me, his eyes full of emotion.

“Are you ready?” he whispered, his voice shaking lightly. I nodded, my hands sliding up to his shoulders as he began to move in slow, gentle thrusts.

A low moan slipped from my lips before I could catch it, making him still, his own moan sending shivers through me. He began again, thrusting softly in and out of me, making me relax against the bed, my eyes closing as pleasure washed over me.

It was amazing. I felt him speed up, my legs tightening around his hips, wanting him closer, deeper, anything, but I needed something.

I began moving my hips with his, curling them up to meet his thrusts, making both of us cry out softly. He leaned down, his lips capturing mine in one of the sweetest kisses we had shared so far, my mind going hazy with lust.

“V-Vegeta…” I panted when we surfaced for air, “F-faster…. Please…” I moaned, making his breath hitch. He sped up again, this time getting harder, making the bed shake and lightly thump the wall behind it. My hands moved to his back, my nails biting into his skin as I was overtaken by pleasure. It spurred him on, though, a low growl building in his chest as he began thrust harder.

I wasn’t sure if I could last much longer. The feel of him slamming into me while he hovered above, his lips sucking against the side of my neck in earnest made my body start to shake. My walls kept trembling and tightening around him, his groans of pleasure making me mewl beneath him.

He sat back on his legs suddenly, breath ragged as he looked down at me. He slowly lifted my legs, placing them in the crooks of his arms, pulling me closer, causing his cock to slam into me, making me cry out his name.

The smirk was back, making my already soaked core gush even more so.

“Are you going to cum for me?” he whispered, rotating his hips, causing just enough movement to feel good, but not enough to satisfy.

I mewled and begged, trying in vain to thrust against him, but he held back, not letting me do it.

“Are you going to cum for me Galanga?” he repeated, his eyes glinting slightly. I nodded, close to tears I wanted it so bad.

He lifted my hips up slowly, watching me the entire time.

His hips moved back, slowly withdrawing from me until only the tip remained, before slamming into me, my scream echoing around the room. He set off at an almost violent speed, making me moan and writhe in his grasp.

This was what I needed and wanted.

My nails dug into his back, leaving long scratches behind as I clawed at him, begging him for more. Our moans turned into animalistic cries, mingling together and echoing off the walls. He lay down against me, his lips moving to the side of my neck, and I felt his teeth press into the skin there.

I knew what he wanted. He was waiting for my submission, or rather permission, to mark me as his. It would make any other male leave me alone, and bind me to him forever.
My mind was hazy, but I knew that I wanted him, and that I wanted to be his. I turned my head to the side, a submissive whimper leaving my lips as he continued to piston in and out of me.

I heard him growl in approval before there was a sharp pain in my neck, making my back arch as an almost electrical shock ran through my body. He continued to slam inside me, making my orgasm hit like me like a tsunami, making me scream his name at the top of my lungs.

I felt him begin to shake, his moan drawn out and loud as he came inside of me, filling me with his hot seed and making my already sensitive body quake in aftershocks. His teeth let go of my neck, his mouth capturing mine with a metallic taste of my blood on his lips.

Our breathing slowed as he kissed me languidly, our heart rates slowing as well. He lay against me, his body warm and soaked in sweat, just as mine was.
He finally broke the kiss, looking down at me with so much emotion in his eyes that it made my heart want to explode.

“You won’t be going back to the barracks.” he said, making it almost sound like a question. I withheld a smile, knowing he was nervous and as unsure as I was. I shook my head, my hand going to caress the side of his face.

“I won’t,” I simply told him.

He nodded, pulling himself free from and making me whimper at the loss. But as he moved to my side, turning to face me and pulling me against his chest tightly, I couldn’t help but smile. He had a hard time saying what he felt, but his actions told me everything I needed to know.

Years later, as we watched our children grow and our family expand, I think back to the night he made me his and cannot help but smile. That Vegeta is still there, when he holds court or leads his army into battle, the same stoic calmness that he always exuded when we were young. But when we retire to our rooms, and when our children come in to tell him good night, he becomes what his eyes longed to be all those years ago.

He is loving and caring, doting on each of our children so that they know they are loved, giving them what he himself never received.

And when they are asleep and in their rooms, he gently takes my hand and leads me to our bedroom, his hands roaming my body just as they did when I was young, his eyes holding the same fire they held before.

And as I fall asleep in his arms, I think back to that day he found me training, thanking whatever Deity that led him to me, and drifting off to the sound of his heartbeat as it falls into sync with my own.