Ladylake was staring to feel more and more like home to Sorey. Though he’d grown up in Elysia, the thought of living in such a secluded place seemed less appealing. It likely had much to do with the fact that the Elysia he knew as a child was gone. Gramps had apparently known that Sorey would find the larger world far more enticing once he was there.
He hummed softly as he felt warmth around him, looking down at the sleeping form of Mikleo. The water seraph’s hand had gone to the bonding gem, covering it slightly. It’d taken some getting used to but Sorey certainly never complained about the various sensations he got from sharing his soul with Mikleo.
Distracted, Sorey didn’t notice that Mikleo had awoken until he felt arms around his waist. He had a moment to look down before Mikleo pulled him back down to the bed, all but pinning him there with a forceful kiss.
Mikleo, as Sorey had learned, liked to be in charge a lot of the times. It was surprising considering he never tried to be the one to take Sorey. Whatever the water seraph enjoyed, he always seemed to prefer Sorey filling him – practically every night these days.
“Good morning to you, too,” Sorey breathed with a slight grin as Mikleo pulled away finally. “You finally got the jump on me.”
“It’s about time you got up. I’ve been dozing for a while now just to do that.” Mikleo merely smirked as Sorey looked at him in shock. “Usually, I wake up and then fall back to sleep thanks to you. No one told me that we’d start sharing the same sleep schedule.”
Regardless of the irritated look on Mikleo’s face, Sorey knew the truth deep down. There was no regret or real irritation, only amusement and exasperation. Discovering one another on such a deep level was still something they were getting used to but enjoying it nonetheless. They knew precisely what they’d signed up for when they did it and the challenges they’d face, not that Sorey considered it a real challenge.
Before he could do anything else, Mikleo had already pulled away and was fussing with his hair. Sorey rolled his eyes and pulled his lover back down to the bed with a soft noise. He gave the water seraph another passionate kiss before he pulled away, grinning at the emotions he felt between them. There’d been more than one morning that they’d decided to spend extra time in bed after waking up. However, today wasn’t going to be one of them, much to Mikleo’s dismay.
“You need to stop doing that and not following through,” Mikleo muttered, giving Sorey a gentle glare as he sat up again.
Sorey had slipped off the bed and grabbed his pants, shrugging slightly as he put them on. “I’ll pay you back, I promise,” he said. “When I promise then you know for sure I’ll be good for it.”
Huffing softly, Mikleo finally got up to get dressed as well, looking over his shoulder. “I’ll hold you to it. If you don’t, I’ll make sure I get my due – with interest.”
There was something about the way his lover said it that sent a shiver up his spine. Of course, there was always the chance that there was some serious intent with his words. Knowing Mikleo, the “interest” would end up keeping them in bed for much of the day. Quite a difference from the seraph who had once thought sex was only for procreation.
The two still walked out of their home standing close together and a quiet thread of love between them. It was the latter that had gotten on Edna’s nerves for a short while as they had a difficult time keeping the smiles off their faces. While they’d gotten better at keeping their secret emotions more of a secret, there were still moments that it was hard to keep it quiet. Sorey hadn’t felt so much freedom in his life so no one could truly blame him for it, right?
“You’re late, as usual.”
Edna gave the pair a dry look as she, Lailah, and Zaveid approached them. Sorey could only shrug, not able to make weak excuses for why they were late. If it wasn’t sleeping, it was intimacy or reading a new book. All of them had heard the reasons in the past and Edna was the only one who didn’t merely shrug it off.
“Edna, you know by now that our lovebirds are going to have even less of a schedule than we’re used to. They haven’t even gone on a honeymoon,” Zaveid said, a slight smirk on his face. “They have hundreds of years to catch up on. Let them enjoy their time together.”
Sorey’s embarrassment was echoed with Mikleo and he let out a soft breath. Really, it was more the insinuations behind the words that made them flush rather than what he was saying. The embarrassment was fleeting and quickly brushed aside. That was nothing compared to the noise of disapproval that Lailah made.
“Honestly, Zaveid! Discretion is a virtue!” the fire seraph protested.
“Your first mistake is thinking that Grampveid will ever have any virtues,” Edna muttered.
Embarrassment was replaced with mild amusement as the trio fell into yet another small disagreement. It was another day in their life and Sorey would be the first to admit that it felt nice to have such a routine.
A noise of surprise caught Sorey off guard and he looked over to see another seraph. She had her hands over her mouth as she looked at Mikleo before going forward to wrap her arms around him. He stepped back, feeling the same confusion within his lover until recognition hit.
“Harrah!” Mikleo exclaimed, putting his hands on the other seraph’s shoulders and pushing away. “I haven’t seen you in so long. I didn’t think you came to places like Ladylake.”
Harrah was slight with long white hair that had bright yellow tips. An earth seraph that lacked the attitude of Edna – well, at first sight, anyway. She had on a dress that was mostly white but had golden-yellow trim around the bottom of the skirt and the holes for her arms. It was definitely surprising to see Mikleo being so familiar with her.
She shook her head and smiled brightly. “I usually don’t but here I am!” Harrah laughed gently before taking a small step back and putting her hands behind her back. “Truthfully, I was curious about what you’ve talked about before. We don’t have such large places further north, you know that.”
Ah, so she’d met him on his travels. For some reason, Sorey hadn’t thought much about Mikleo’s life and the possible friendships he’d made along the way. Then again, he remembered when he thought his lover had found someone else prior to their admission of mutual love. Mikleo hadn’t been the only one to doubt their bonds which now seemed amusingly foolish on both their parts.
The water seraph made a noise and turned around to look at the group. “Then now you get to meet Lailah, Edna, Zaveid, and Sorey.”
Harrah looked over quickly before turning her attention to Sorey. “Wait, not that Sorey, right? I thought you said he was gone.”
Worry immediately threatened to overwhelm him before Sorey laughed gently and rubbed the back of his head. “I’m the only Sorey that he knows. I think.” He could feel the coming protest before it showed on Mikleo’s face. “Don’t worry, Mikleo. I’ll take that as a ‘yes’.”
Clapping her hands together, the new earth seraph giggled gently. “I’ve heard so much about all of you. Mikleo told me about some of your adventures when we met in Windspire. But…” Harrah trailed off and looked curiously at Sorey, obviously scrutinizing him. “You were a human when he described you. That’s…not true anymore, is it?”
Sorey looked over to Lailah as she started trying to cover for him, shaking his head. “It’s all right. No, I’m not a human, I’m a seraph now. I can’t tell you the reason why.”
There was a brief moment where she pouted before letting out a heavy sigh. “Vows are tricky things. It’s too bad because I’ve never met a human that’s come back as a seraph.” Harrah’s disappointment was short-lived as she brightened again. “That means you were also a Shepherd once! I’d love to hear what that was like.”
“Oh, like what I told you wasn’t enough?” Mikleo finally chimed in. He went back to Sorey’s side, giving him an apology in his look and through their shared bond.
“Hey now, why don’t we all walk and talk? Sorey’s not the only one with tall tales to tell and he sure as hell wasn’t the only part of the posse,” Zaveid said, appearing behind Sorey and Mikleo. He leaned on them, his usual grin on his face. “We had plans today but let’s not disappoint this little lady who came all the way here to see you, Mikboy.”
Putting her fingers to her mouth, Harrah smiled behind them. “I didn’t come here to see him, really. I didn’t think he’d be here at all since he was going up further north, last I remembered,” she explained. “The book you wrote made me curious, Mikleo.”
“That’s why I gave it to you, after all. You didn’t even know the Celestial Record and that’s almost standard issue around this continent.” Mikleo tipped his head to one side slightly. “What else would you want to know after reading all of that?”
“She wants to really know us, Meebo,” Edna said, getting closer to the other earth seraph. “I doubt you told her what a wonderful person I am.”
Sorey now knew what the others felt as they found a tree and sat underneath it to regale Harrah with their tales. It was difficult not to be enthusiastic as they spoke of the good – and the bad. The latter was avoided as much as possible in favour of off-the-wall stories during their adventures. Eventually, Sorey had to let the other three take the reins as they spoke of things he had no part in.
Eventually, Lailah, Edna, and Zaveid took their leave as the stars began to dot the night sky. With a promise that their plans would be postponed until the next day, Harrah was left with Mikleo and Sorey. She looked at them shyly, a small smile tugging at her lips.
“I’ve never seen seraphs with the gems you two have,” she said, finally calling attention to their union. Harrah paused for a moment, idly tucking a bit of her long hair behind her ear. “Honestly, I’m jealous because I can’t imagine being so close to someone like that. Aren’t you scared about what might happen in the future?”
“If Sorey was going to become a dragon, I would rather be there with him,” Mikleo replied simply.
The thought was frightening enough for Harrah to make a soft noise. “I could tell you were in love with Sorey, I didn’t realize how deep that went.” She looked to Sorey with a much brighter smile. “You’re so lucky, I hope you know that.”
Playfully hesitating, Sorey felt an elbow in his side. “Trust me, I know how lucky I am. Without as much malevolence in the world, it’s not likely we’ll hellionize anytime soon,” Sorey said, turning his face up to the sky. “I haven’t thought much about it. All I can think of is how much is ahead of us and the places we’ll see together.”
As he turned his attention back to Harrah, he saw her contemplate his words. “Wow, you really stand out as a human sometimes. If I didn’t know already, I would never have taken you for a seraph.”
“Are all earth seraphs this blunt?” Mikleo muttered, disapproval clear on his face.
“Someone has to be! I didn’t mean it as an insult or anything,” she said, a wide grin on her face. “We’re getting better at it but seraphs as a whole will never think like humans do. I think we could benefit from taking a page from humans.”
From the look on Mikleo’s face, Sorey was sure that he’d heard something similar before. Seraphs and humans weren’t all that different, though seraphs likely shifted away from human behaviour to protect themselves. The constant cycle of having to bid farewell to friends would take its toll on anyone over time. Sorey certainly didn’t fault them for distancing themselves knowing that such negative thoughts could cause hellionization.
“I think it’s time I call it a night,” Harrah announced, standing up. “Could you meet me at the inn tomorrow when you get up? I think I’d like to pal around with you guys for a while. Better than getting lost in this place.”
Getting to their feet, both Sorey and Mikleo agreed. “I’d really like to know more about where you come from, Harrah. I didn’t spend as much time as I should have when I went up that way.” Sorey rubbed the back of his head slightly. “Somehow I managed to miss Windspire entirely.”
“Oh, that’s not surprising at all. There are several pathways to the mountains, all of them leading to those ruins Mikleo went to. If you don’t know the area, you’ll miss five towns and twice as many villages,” Harrah said, mouth quirked up into a grin. “I’ll be glad to fill you in tomorrow. Good night, you two.”
Both of them waved as they went their separate ways, a gentle contemplation resting in Sorey’s chest. Neither said nothing as they went back to their apartment, only making idle chatter before they decided to enjoy a warm bath together.
Sorey leaned back in the wash basin, Mikleo doing the same and stretching out as he rested on Sorey’s chest. Without saying anything, both knew they were lost in thought about the day. However, he highly doubted that Mikleo’s thoughts were the same as his own.
“I don’t really think about all those years I was gone,” Sorey said finally, his voice quiet. “You don’t talk about them much, either.”
Mikleo said nothing for a moment before turning over, looking up at Sorey. “It wasn’t all bad. I spent a lot of time staying close to the places we know.” He paused before starting to make idle shapes from the water around them. “When Rose became Mayvin, I decided to go back to Elysia for a while. Your place was a disaster – well, more so than usual.”
The water seraph grinned playfully as he teased his lover, the grin widening as he saw his amusement returned in kind. All too quickly, the grin softened into something melancholier and Mikleo shrugged once. “I hate talking about it because it makes me feel childish. I didn’t spend all my time pining after you, just enough that I feel stupid for doing it at all. I should never have doubted you.”
“Hey, I don’t blame you and you know that. I actually thought you didn’t like talking about it because maybe you found someone you liked more than me,” Sorey admitted. Immediately, he felt the disbelief and he laughed lightly. “You did have over three-hundred years to meet someone else. Compared to the seventeen we spent together it doesn’t seem impossible.”
Unable to deny it, Mikleo settled for putting his arms around Sorey. “Never. I wouldn’t, I couldn’t.”
Putting a hand on the other’s back, Sorey let out a gentle sigh. “There’s always going to be that gap between us, isn’t there? Even after being back for as long as I have, it’s like the world changed overnight.” He frowned lightly as he thought about it. “I couldn’t tell you when I stopped being a human or when Maotelus began to stir. My concept of time is broken and meeting Harrah today reminded me of that.”
“I didn’t know it bothered you that much.”
Sorey tipped his head to one side before he shook his head slightly. “I think it bothers you more than it bothers me. You don’t have to be afraid to talk about it, Mikleo,” he said, smiling softly. “I want to know what you did and how many people you got to know.”
It was impossible for Mikleo to deny it considering he’d been so avoidant about the subject. “Like I said, I feel childish for some of the things I did. I didn’t leave the areas we were familiar with for so long.” He let out a gentle grunt as he slid up Sorey’s body slightly. “Fine, I’ll tell you whatever you want to know sometime.”
That was good enough for him. Sorey nodded and leaned in for a gentle kiss, grinning as Mikleo refused to let him pull back. “Mikleo,” he murmured, putting a hand on his lover’s chest, “it’s late and we should get some sleep.”
“You promised,” Mikleo muttered against Sorey’s lips.
“I never said when I’d pay you back.” It was difficult not laugh at the mutinous glare he got in return. “Tomorrow morning.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” the water seraph said. “And it better be with interest.”
“The morning’s all yours tomorrow, I promise.” Even if it meant waking up earlier. As much as Sorey valued his sleep, he valued Mikleo and their time together much more. It was the look that Mikleo gave to him that made Sorey arch a brow. “Uh, you’re not planning on waking me up in the middle of the night again like you did last time, are you?”
The lack of response spoke volumes, especially the coy look he got as Mikleo got out of the tub. Perhaps he would never know what the water seraph did for the time he was gone but Sorey knew now that who Mikleo was would never change. He’d grown and matured for sure but their feelings for one another had only gotten stronger.
If he were honest, that would be enough for him.