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Different Kisses

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Spartos was unlike Mystras.

Sinbad leaned back against the tree and watched as Spartos walked through the courtyard, Pisti clinging to his arm. The petite girl was attempting to tug him somewhere, her lips moving rapidly as she spoke. From the distance Sinbad was at he couldn’t hear what she was saying but he could imagine Pisti’s words.

“Come on Spartos, let’s go play!” Sinbad imagined her bright voice with crystal clarity. “It’s the perfect day to run around outside.”

Indeed, it was a nice day. Sinbad looked up at the tree and saw the sunlight filter through, an emerald green. A soft breeze, carrying the scent of the ocean and salt ran through Sinbad’s hair and nose. The ocean smelt like home. Sinbad closed his eyes and had a brief flash to simpler times, when his father was alive, and Sinbad was learning the trade of being a fisherman. A small smile wormed its way on Sinbad’s face and he opened his eyes. Tucking the past away gently in the back of his mind, Sinbad looked back towards Spartos and Pisti, He then began to imagine Spartos’s response to Pisti.

“I’m too old to indulge in childish antics.” Sinbad imagined the calm reply.

Sinbad’s lips quirked into another smile. He remembered when he first visited Sasan. Given Mystras and Spartos’s father it was no wonder Spartos held harsher views on fun and relaxation. Sure, Spartos would be considered lax by an average Sasan citizen, he was still rigid by many other people’s standards.

A small squeal filled the air. Sinbad blinked and watched as Pisti, who was tugging on Spartos’s arm, being dragged along instead of the other way around, tripped over her own feet. Despite being able to take to the air on a giant bird with grace and poise, and in general held an affinity with wind, Pisti took to the ground. She landed face first and skid into the ground a bit, digging up some of the ground as she went. Sinbad winced as he tasted the dirt in his mouth and felt the skin peel back on his palms and perhaps his knees. Spartos paused, turning around, eyes wide. Immediately he knelt and picked Pisti up. Sinbad saw dirt and grass come up with her and knew without looking that her face was covered in dirt and her white clothes messy. Sinbad also saw a trickle of blood down Pisti’s legs. She had to have hit some rocks.

Pisti had taken hits from harder things. Sinbad had seen her battle in the skies and tame animals. She had been smacked around before by a manner of all sorts of things. Sinbad knew that as one of his Eight Generals Pisti was capable and strong.

“S-Spartos!!!” Pisti’s voice rang in the air, wobbling, magnified by a bit of her magoi. “Y-You let me fall!” She hiccupped.

Sinbad didn’t have to be near Spartos to see the blood drain from his face. He could see the sweat on Spartos’s face and could see the trembling in his body. Sinbad laughed to himself softly and watched Spartos’s hands flail a little, his cheeks pinkening slowly. His mouth moved and as his eyes widened a bit and his arms moved a bit more, Sinbad saw a bit of Mystras in Spartos. A small worn out memory remembered a tavern and piles of empty bowls. Another memory followed, widening of innocent eyes, sparkling, filled with awe. A small pang in his chest hit Sinbad and he shoved that down swiftly. Moving from the tree, Sinbad decided to help Spartos out. At this rate Sinbad would be reminded of things he wasn’t keen on dwelling on. At least, not this sober.

“Spartos, bullying Pisti?” Sinbad asked as he walked closer.

Spartos flinched and looked at him but Pisti immediately left Spartos and latched onto Sinbad, crying with little hiccups. Sinbad had spent more than enough time as a child and teenager looking after children. He knew fake crying when he saw it. Still, he wrapped and arm around Pisti’s shoulders. She barely reached his waist and it was hard to remember she was eighteen. Now that he was close, Sinbad could see the dirt and how it clung to Pisti. She really did a number on herself. There was even grass clinging in her hair. It made her bangs stick up in strange ways and it looked ridiculous.

“S-Sinbad… Spartos is being mean.” She informed him.

“Is he?” Sinbad asked with as serious of a tone he could muster.

“I am not.” Spartos stiffly replied. “She tripped.”

“Because you were dragging me.” Pisti told him.

“You were the one clinging to me.” Spartos replied, his voice slightly higher, his cheeks darkening. “I am not at fault here.”

“Are too!”

At this rate they’d get into a petty argument. Sinbad couldn’t help but laugh internally at the image. “Why don’t you go clean up, Pisti?” He asked with a straight face.

“Okay!” Pisti’s mood immediately flipped.

Sinbad pressed a kiss to the top of her head, feeling like an older brother, and watched Pisti race off towards the castle. Sinbad hoped that Ja’far didn’t see her tracking dirt into the palace. He then turned to Spartos.

“You’re not in trouble if you’re wondering.” Sinbad told Spartos.

“I know.” Spartos said in a tone that implied he didn’t know that.

Sinbad couldn’t help but feel a touch bad. Spartos saw everything in a very straightforward way and interactions with people were seen as linear to the way he anticipated them going. Touching Spartos’s shoulder, Sinbad then ruffled Spartos’s headgear a bit, smiling as Spartos immediately went to adjust the white cloth.

“You’re a good older brother figure to Pisti.” Sinbad softly told him.

Under his touch Sinbad felt Spartos tighten, his shoulders tense. He looked down and his eyes clouded over. He bit his lip and Sinbad could practically feel the thoughts circulating in Spartos’s head. He had always been the younger brother after all.

“You… think so?”

“I do.” Sinbad replied before he leaned down, pressing a kiss on the top of Spartos’s head, just like he did to Pisti. “And I don’t mind being an older brother figure if you need one.”

A small smile flitted across Spartos’s face and Sinbad saw a small smile form.

“Thanks…” His voice was soft and wobbled a bit.

Sinbad didn’t comment.

~

“You really shouldn’t encourage her.” Yamraiha told Sinbad the moment he walked into her study.

Sinbad knew exactly what she was referring to, but he took his time answering. Looking around Yamraiha’s study, Sinbad noticed a few more books open on the table and a few more bubbling potions in circular flasks. He then noticed some magical runes that he couldn’t read entirely but he could pick up some of the commands woven in. He then looked at Yamraiha. Contrast to popular belief, she didn’t always walk around with her shirt half down all the time, shells covering her modesty. Yamraiha’s robe was tugged up properly and her sleeves tied back neatly. Clearly, she was in the middle of some sort of experiment or study.

“I just like having a bit of fun.” Sinbad didn’t try to lie to Yamraiha. His head still ached when Sinbad remembered when he tried lying so blatantly to Yamraiha. He hadn’t even seen the spell coming.

“Pisti bouncing in here as I’m working and asking for me to heal her when she doesn’t need it,” Yamraiha paused and levelled a look at Sinbad, “is not what I consider fun.”

“I’ll make it up to you?” Sinbad asked, wincing with a sheepish smile.

Yamraiha hummed. “Next time this happens I’m using you for target practice for new spells.”

Sinbad swallowed. “R-Right.” He then offered a smile, one that usually won people over. “I’ll keep that in mind.” He then took Yamraiha’s hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it. Politely and respectfully of course. “You have my word.”

Yamraiha rolled her eyes but Sinbad saw a small smile flash across her face.

~

Training with Masrur was like training with a brick wall that could fight back, had amazing stamina, and moved faster than anticipated.

Still, Sinbad had trained with Masrur multiple times so he at least knew what kind of beat down he was signing himself (willingly) up for. The cool rock of the training grounds felt solid under his bare feet. With no weapons or djinn equips, or household vessels allowed, the raw purity of their sparring pumped Sinbad’s blood. There was nothing like a good beat down with bare hands and body strength.

Dodging Masrur’s fast kicks, Sinbad threw an elbow towards the Fanalis’s face. Masrur was quick but Sinbad wasn’t King of Sindria for nothing. He managed to connect with Masrur’s face and while it hurt him a bit, Sinbad knew he at least got a solid hit in. Masrur pulled back, his face blank. There was no sign that Sinbad had just thrown his elbow into Masrur’s face (most people would have a bloody nose), but Sinbad knew that Masrur was calculating how many more hits he could take. Sinbad had left a mark even if it wasn’t visible.

Their fighting continued a moment later, the two of them going at each other. Of course, Sinbad put up the best fight he could, but Masrur had an upper hand with pure strength and endurance. That and durability. Sinbad pulled back after an intense round and wiped the blood from the corner of his mouth and spat the blood in his mouth out, grimacing.

“I think you win this one, my friend.” Sinbad told Masrur, losing with grace. He knew when he was beat in terms of a straight forward fight with a Fanalis. “Thanks for the spar.”

Masrur bowed. “You’re welcome.”

Now that the adrenaline was wearing off, Sinbad fell down to the ground, his legs giving out from under him. Groaning, he flopped into the ground, feeling the coolness of the stone against his overheated body. Closing his eyes, Sinbad felt Masrur walk over and sit down beside him. Sinbad lay in silence and allowed his breathing to even out. He wanted a bath badly and the longer he stayed stationary the longer Sinbad could feel the sweat and grime from the work out. Sitting up, Sinbad decided that if he could feel the sweat, surely Masrur with his keen nose was smelling the sweat.

“I’m going have a bath.” Sinbad announced. “Thanks again.”

Masrur nodded.

Sinbad patted Masrur’s knee before he leaned in and pressed the lightest of kisses to the side of Masrur’s cheek, friendly and quick. Masrur didn’t respond but Sinbad knew he didn’t hate it.

Wobbling up, Sinbad walked off, heading to the baths.

~

One of the worst aspects of being King were the meetings (though paperwork was a close second. That was why if he could, and he did, Sinbad shoved it onto other people). Sure, Sinbad liked the exciting meetings, the ones held in crisis (because Sinbad always won in the end so there was never really a full-blown crisis), but those were the only meetings he enjoyed.

Stretching, Sinbad flopped half against the table, his brain fried. Sinbad was sure that if it were possible, his head would be smoking, steam coming out of his ears. All the mumbo jumbo that Rurumu tried to help him understand (Sinbad with moderate success. Ja’far with beyond expectations and back success) was retained only to a certain point. Sinbad preferred the methods of smooth talking (flirting), charm (also could be considered flirting), and beating things up with a weapon (which, battles were sort of like flirting).

It was why he appreciated Drakon just a bit more when meetings were in session.

Even before Drakon had grown into his role of a military leader, the man had always been driven by rules, regulations, and following expectations. Sinbad still remembered the boy who had barked orders and insulted Sinbad even when they were about to die in the dungeon. Sinbad remembered how strict and devoted Drakon had been (even when all the warning signs pointed to him being used) and remembered how Drakon had spouted ideals about regulations and honour to a country.

Drakon’s stickler personality had eased a bit, now willing to take less regulated tactics and strategies, but there was no way in a million years would Drakon ever abandon policies and regulations. (Words that made Sinbad’s skin crawl.) Which was why Sinbad was jumping Drakon the moment the others were out of the meeting and forcing the man (dragon) to sit down.

“Sinbad?” Drakon asked mildly.

“Have I ever told you how much I appreciate you?” Sinbad asked as he moved around to the back of the chair.

“You’re just glad that I was here to deal with all the paperwork and speak on behalf of our policies.” Drakon called Sinbad out with ease. “But yes, you have told me how you appreciate me before.”

“Good.” Sinbad muttered as he moved his hands over Drakon’s shoulders.

Drakon exhaled. “You really don’t have to. I know how my scales can rough up your hands.”

“I’m tough.” Sinbad told Drakon. “I can handle you poking me passively. You do that enough already.”

“Very funny.” Drakon half snorted.

Sinbad just moved his hands, massaging Drakon’s shoulders a bit. Most people (usually his enemies) seemed to believe Sinbad demanded people wait on him. Sure, Sinbad had people wait on him but usually it was for appearances (that and it was nice to be pampered every so often). Really, Sinbad liked connections with people. Those who thought too highly of themselves and didn’t return favours towards others were the worst kind of leaders.

So, Sinbad kept massaging Drakon’s shoulders. True, without any oil or lotion it was a bit more challenging and the scales did hurt a bit, but Sinbad kept pushing onwards. Some areas were soft, like a snake’s scales but most of the scales were rough. Sinbad just kept moving.

“Thanks.” Drakon exhaled out. “Somehow you’re always the best at this.”

“I aim to please.” Sinbad drawled. “Though I think in a few years Aladdin may out do me. He’s a very intuitive boy and knows how to comfort people.”

“Aladdin.” Drakon muttered. “He’s a very eager boy, very soft but not a push over. I wish I had more time to talk with him. He’s refreshing in a world still littered with strife.”

Sinbad hummed in response. Their mysterious fourth Magi never said much, never explained himself. Sooner or later Sinbad felt as though things would leak. That’s what secrets wanted to do. They didn’t want to be kept in the dark.

Sinbad slowed his massage and shoved his thoughts about Aladdin away. Regardless of Aladdin’s secrets, he was a friend and a pure person. Sinbad trusted him. Focusing on Drakon, Sinbad kept moving, hoping Drakon was feeling a bit less stressed. When his hands hurt too much, Sinbad pulled his hands away.

“Feeling better?” Sinbad asked, even though Drakon hadn’t asked for a massage due to any aches or pains.

“Yes. Thank you, Sinbad. Though if you think giving me shoulder massages will always get you out of policy and regulation updates, you’re wrong.”

Sinbad laughed and leaned in, pressing a kiss to Drakon’s shoulder, warm and light, the scales slightly rough against his skin. “Worth a shot I suppose.”

Drakon laughed with Sinbad and Sinbad pressed one more kiss to his friend’s shoulder, one filled with appreciation and joy.

~

Sindria at night was lit and alive, swelling with business and people. Sinbad tugged his tunic over his body, light, casual, just enough to stave off the cool evening air, and walked down the street. The smell of food and spices burst in the air, coating every inhale with a tantalizing taste. People mingled and shops, restaurants, and homes were bustling. A warmth filled Sinbad’s heart as he kept heading to his destination. Having a palace with guards, a kitchen staff, and entertainment at his beck and call was wonderful, but there was something to be said about going out in public.

Sinbad had no illusions that people weren’t aware of who he was. He stuck out like a sore thumb with his hair colour alone. The attention didn’t (and never) bothered Sinbad. He had built his entire fortune on attention after all. However, the people on the streets took one look at him and just continued on their way, laughing and chatting with others. Sinbad still gave smiles and waves to people, but casual, friendly. No one batted an eye at his presence out in town and even though walking unescorted always warranted a look from Ja’far, Sinbad had total faith in his people. And his abilities but Ja’far wouldn’t be asking for his opinion once he caught wind anyways.

Walking down the street, Sinbad counted the houses and the businesses he knew by heart. There was the curry house, and the floral shop. Then, there was the kebab place and the jewelry store. There was the silk and fabric shop and the pottery shop. Finally, the BBQ place before the avenue changed and it became a little more open and a little less family friendly.

Sinbad kept walking until he reached his favourite tavern. Pushing the oak doors open, Sinbad walked in to an array of soft smells, tasteful instrumental music, and an array of voices. Shutting the door, Sinbad walked in, nodding to the staff that greeted him like any other patron, and walked to the back where Sharrkan was.

Sharrkan was easy to spot with his loose, flowy white clothes, his glimmering golden accessories, and the bright laughter that always carried over the crowds. Sinbad moved through the people milling around with ease and sat beside Sharrkan.

“Hey my King!” Sharrkan slapped Sinbad’s back heartily. “Fancy seeing you here!”

Sinbad laughed. “I could say the same to you.”

Sharrkan gave a hiccupping laugh and waved the waitress over. “Another round!”

Drinks flowed and music played. Sinbad laughed with Sharrkan and leaned into him as the night moved along. At some point food came and Sinbad was feeling lighter than ever. When the tables were cleared for dancing later on, the alcohol and the food coursing through Sinbad’s veins, he took one look and stood up.

“Come on, Sharrkan!” Sinbad easily hoisted the other up. “Let’s dance!”

“With you?” Sharrkan asked with a raised eyebrow and wide grin. “I don’t know. We might blow everyone’s minds here.”

Sinbad twirled Sharrkan and grabbed his hands. “Maybe that will help some gain some attention from those ladies in the corner?”

“Oh please,” Sharrkan laughed with a burst, “we already have their attention.”

“Then let’s keep their attention on us.” Sinbad said before he began to move their bodies with the beat.

Music filled the air and cheers followed as Sinbad and Sharrkan moved, their arms linked so they were touching each other’s shoulders, swaying. It was akin to children who didn’t exactly know how to dance but were doing their best. Still, Sinbad and Sharrkan tried to make it interesting, moving as fast as they could without tripping over their feet.

“Try to keep up with me.” Sharrkan leaned a bit in, as far as their arms allowed, whispering.

“Oh, I intend to.” Sinbad grinned.

They danced faster and when the music started to shift and their bodies felt heavy, Sinbad collapsed half into Sharrkan, feeling warmth bubble in the pit of his stomach. It wasn’t tired, just a breather.

“Tired?” Sharrkan still asked.

“Not a chance.” Sinbad pulled himself up. “What? Do you want a break?”

“No way!”

Laughing Sinbad pulled Sharrkan close, enjoying the heat from the swords master. They continued their dancing, friendly and fast. By the time they really were exhausted, the tavern was slowly shutting down and the night was turning old. Stumbling out, Sinbad and Sharrkan walked down the streets, arms over shoulders, back towards the palace. The night stars starkly stood out and the cool air felt refreshing on their sweaty skin.

When they finally were at the castle, Sinbad untangled himself from Sharrkan. “Bath?”

“Naw, I’ll just piss Yamraiha off and make her use water magic on me.” Sharrkan waved his hand. “Good night.”

Sinbad leaned in and kissed Sharrkan’s nose in a farewell gesture. “Good night.”

~

There were many kinds of baths in the palace. Sinbad liked accommodating for what people liked. There were private baths for some of the higher up officials, private baths that could be booked for the soldiers, public baths, large baths, small baths, all kinds of baths. Cleanliness was next to godliness was what Sinbad liked to boast (and one thing Ja’far nodded and didn’t wince at the funds that went into said baths). The choices were endless and since it was so late, Sinbad decided to go to one of the larger open baths. After rinsing and cleaning himself off, Sinbad lay in the water, drifting in the heat, watching the steam rise. His hair fanned out, like a purple fan engulfing him. He floated in the water, allowing his mind to wander before the heat became a bit too much. Standing up, Sinbad’s hair dripped excessively down his back. Wringing as much water as he could out of his hair while he was still in the tub, Sinbad finally walked out and grabbed a towel. Any magic that wasn’t part of his djinn equip was Yamraiha’s territory and Sinbad was not foolish enough to wake her up to ask for a spell to dry his hair. Instead, Sinbad wrapped multiple layers of towels around his hair before drying off, dressing, and walking out. Now that he was clean and over heated, Sinbad craved something cold. Heading to the kitchens, Sinbad hoped he didn’t wake someone up due to his noise.

The kitchens were divided up into multiple sections. Sinbad usually ate in private or at feasts. However, sometimes he missed being in a simpler setting, so he always had a table set off the side for him, nestled in the corner of the kitchen. Entering, Sinbad carefully tip toed around, noticing no one was around, and went to the ice box. The ice box was like a regular ice box only enchanted by Yamraiha. Opening it, Sinbad pulled out a cool pitcher of juice and poured himself a glass. Sitting at the table, Sinbad drank it in silence, savouring the sweetness. His stomach rumbled a little but Sinbad didn’t really care. At this point sleep overruled hunger. Leaning in the chair, Sinbad closed his eyes a bit but opened them when he sensed an icy burst of magoi.

“Sinbad?” Hinahoho asked a second later.

“Hinahoho.” Sinbad raised his glass a bit in greeting. “Hello.”

“I saw the state Sharrkan was in. You two certainly did a number out in town.”

“We did.” Sinbad agreed, not laughing. That might hurt his head a bit. “What are you doing up?”

“Couldn’t sleep.” Hinahoho minimally supplied. “Decided to get something cool to drink.”

“Copycat.” Sinbad accused without heat.

Hinahoho poured himself a glass (one that was the proper size for the Imuchak warrior) and sat on the floor by Sinbad’s side. Feeling slightly rude for making his friend sit on the floor alone, Sinbad soon joined him, half resting beside Hinahoho, feeling the heat radiate off him. Sinbad drank a bit more of his icy cold juice to balance out the wave of heat.

“So, how much property damage can we suspect this time?” Hinahoho asked.

“You make it sound like Sharrkan and I out in town causes damage on the regular.”

“It doesn’t?” Hinahoho asked. “I’m sure Ja’far’s notebooks can disagree with that statement.”

“We were well behaved.” Sinbad sniffed. “I’m not some wild boy seeking adventure at every corner.”

Hinahoho sipped from his mug. “You aren’t?”

Sinbad opened his mouth and then shut it. Looking out at the empty kitchen, Sinbad thought of how he had insisted to go to Balbadd himself to investigate and solve the issue. He thought of how he had, when telling Alibaba and the others about Zagan’s dungeon, felt a small pang in his chest. A dungeon capturer spirit burned within, deeply, like molten embers waiting to erupt. Sinbad touched his chest, remembering the words of his seventh djinn. He remembered the blood pumping through his veins and the ache in his muscles. Sinbad remembered every corner sending adrenaline and hot excitement through his veins. He remembered the unique design and interior of the dungeons. A dull ache filled the cavity of his chest, one that wasn’t filling, no matter how many metal vessels he possessed, no matter how much wealth, power, and influence he had gained.

“Maybe you’re right.” Sinbad whispered.

Hinahoho hummed. “I miss nights like this, just us, quietly sitting together. Times change.”

“They do.” Sinbad agreed. “No more traversing around, sleeping in odd and new locations, seeing the outside world every day. Just us. Here.”

“For a better future.” Hinahoho added. “You told us yourself, the day we all agreed to help you build this country.”

“Yes,” Sinbad smiled, “You’re right.” He then drained his cup. “Thanks for the talk. I best go to sleep.”

Standing up, Sinbad wobbled a bit more than anticipated. It was probably due to the heat, the use of his legs all night, and the way he had been sitting. Hinahoho caught Sinbad before he could really topple over, and Sinbad flashed a smile.

“Thanks.”

“Perhaps I should help you, less we find you face planted in the corridors or in the gardens.” Hinahoho paused. “Again.”

“Thanks, friend.” Sinbad made a face.

Hinahoho laughed lowly and Sinbad felt the rumble of his chest. Steadying himself, Sinbad waited for Hinahoho to let go and just follow him, but instead the Imuchak picked Sinbad up, cradling him in his arms, and carried him.

Usually having a grown man carry him (an equally grown man) was something Sinbad wasn’t too keen on, considering the level of embarrassment it could potentially cause. However, with it being night and Sinbad feeling like his limbs were going to fall off, he decided being carried was the fastest way from the kitchens to his private chambers, and thus to his bed.

“Thanks.” Sinbad half buried his face into Hinahoho’s collarbone. As he spoke, Sinbad’s lips brushed the skin, almost in a butterfly of a kiss. “I appreciate it.”

“You’re just being lazy.” Hinahoho answered, but he still walked out, carrying Sinbad.

Sinbad would have tried to dispute that but he smartly enjoyed the free ride.

~

Ja’far was already in his bed when Sinbad entered, Hinahoho dropping him off and then leaving. Sinbad’s bed was expansive, filled with soft sheets, silken veils, and many pillows. The frame of the bed was entirely wooden, hand carved, and sturdy enough to withstand an attack should Sinbad have to deal with someone attacking him in the middle of the night. Yamraiha even enchanted the sheets and frame to withstand magical attacks (to a certain degree).

However, none of that mattered with Ja’far beside him. Sinbad could be naked, outside, trying to sleep, and with Ja’far present Sinbad was more than well protected. Stripping his shoes off quietly, even though no matter how quiet Sinbad was he’d never be quiet enough for Ja’far to not hear him, Sinbad crawled into bed. He obnoxiously opened the covers widely, just to see if he could get a reaction from Ja’far (he didn’t), and then warmly spooned Ja’far pulling the slighter man so his back was flush against Sinbad’s chest. Wrapping his arms around Ja’far, Sinbad buried his nose into Ja’far’s hair, inhaling. Ja’far smelt like tea, ink, parchment, and iron. He also smelt a bit like lightning, thanks to being a house hold vessel under Baal. It sent a thrill hotly and thickly through Sinbad’s body. Sure, Drakon’s affiliation with Sinbad’s house hold vessel was obvious but it didn’t send the darkest shivers down Sinbad’s spine. It didn’t make every instinct within Sinbad want to leap for joy and shout on the highest peak.

“You’re being loud.” Ja’far mumbled. “And you still smell like a brewery.”

“I was just thinking.” Sinbad told Ja’far. “And I do? I had a bath.”

“Your thoughts are loud.” Ja’far told him. “It’s your clothes. They reek.”

“My thoughts are never loud.” Sinbad said, ignoring the huff from Ja’far. “And I’ll gladly burn my clothes tomorrow if they offend you.”

“You will do no such thing.” Ja’far sternly replied. “Just wash your clothes like a normal person.”

“But with your nose you’ll smell the alcohol even after I wash them.” Sinbad protested.

“Then the solution is to not go out drinking with Sharrkan until the earliest hours of the night.”

Sinbad didn’t have to ask how Ja’far knew. Ja’far knew everything. The reprimand was obvious to pick up but Sinbad obtusely ignored it and tugged Ja’far closer, cooing.

“Aww is this admitting you missed me? Is that why you’re still awake? Couldn’t sleep without me? You can come out with Sharrkan and I, you know. The more the merrier.”

“You know that’s not the answer.” Ja’far replied. “And I don’t want to go to an establishment that is loud all over with people drinking and pawing all over you.”

Sinbad blinked.

“You’re jealous of the imaginary people pawing over me? That’s why you won’t go out with me to taverns? Rest assured that if you were present, I would have no need to look at anyone else.”

“You!!” Ja’far’s voice rose and he tensed, as though he was going to turn around, before Ja’far relaxed. “There are so many things wrong with your statement.”

Sinbad leaned in and pressed a wet kiss to the back of Ja’far neck, savouring the softness of Ja’far’s skin. “There are? You know I speak the truth. I’d love to take you out somewhere. You work too hard. You need a break.”

“I’m having a break now.”

“Sleep is not a break. Sleep is a necessity.” Sinbad retorted before he moved Ja’far around.

With anyone else Sinbad was sure they’d get a dagger to the face, but all he received was mild grumbling. When Ja’far was facing Sinbad, Sinbad tugged Ja’far closer and kissed the top of Ja’far’s nose.

“You know I’m right. You’ll work yourself to the bone if I didn’t intervene.”

“That’s because you’re lazy.”

It was the second time that night Sinbad was accused of being lazy. He smiled at it still and pulled Ja’far closer, “Give me something worth my attention and I can show you how motivated I can be.”

He then kissed Ja’far smoothly, plying those smooth lips open, tasting Ja’far. Ja’far always tasted like home, like comfort, like deadliness tied with the best thing to ever happen to Sinbad. Ja’far clutched Sinbad’s robe a bit tighter and when they parted, Ja’far’s pale skin was easily showing the flush. It made the freckles on his face stand out.

“Cute.” Sinbad muttered.

Ja’far ducked his head and probably would have pushed Sinbad away if he had the leverage. Sinbad just hugged Ja’far tighter.

“Doesn’t matter.” Sinbad hummed. “We know I’m right. Take a break every so often, Ja’far. Even if it isn’t going out to town, we can have breaks together you know. As long as I’m with you.”

“Sap.” Ja’far muttered but Sinbad felt the smile against his chest.

He desperately wanted to kiss Ja’far again but Sinbad wasn’t going to push it. Instead, he moved Ja’far so he was comfortably on his side (and could reach any weapon under the pillows just in case). Sinbad then closed his eyes and fell asleep, Ja’far warm and right in his arms, their kiss lingering on his lips. In the morning, Sinbad could kiss Ja’far some more.