Actions

Work Header

The Delicate Art of Giving and Taking

Work Text:

As Varian grew older, he tried to make an effort to appreciate winter more.

As a child, the King had preferred summer most of all. He had lived for the season of hunting and festivities, and frolicked in the heat of a warm, cleansing sun. As a youth, he had admired the magnificence of fall, and indulged in the fruits of harvest time which embodied the prosperity of his lands. Springtime was for his season for being a husband - It was a time of fertility, and adoration, and of a woman with fair hair whose belly concealed a garden. His heart flourished more than ever in those days, and the memory of her kisses still stirred love in him even though now, she was long gone.

Winter though.

Winter still eluded him.

For the longest time, the winter reminded him only of the darkest days of his life. The cold made him think of chains, and cold sweat, and the icy fist that gripped his heart when steel clashed against steel or plunged into muscle and bone. His sinews seemed to grow stiff in the wintertime, his blood cooled and his breath came in puffs of mist even when he was warm. He had always thought he would never love the season, but sometimes things in life would happen, and Varian would wonder if maybe there was some value concealed in the things he hated after all.

Particularly in the wake of a near death experience.

Anduin tended him closely, over the winter in the aftermath. It seemed the near loss of his father had shaken him, in a way nothing else ever had. Varian, weary and aching, was thankful for his company – the Boy’s touch was gentle and divinely precise. His palms bestowed a caress that echoed through Varian’s body, and alleviated pain even in places that were distant from where they lay upon him. Anduin’s fingers were cool when Varian was burning, and more importantly they were warm when Varian was freezing up. When Genn had dragged Varian’s mangled frame from the battle at the Broken Shore, it had been these lovely hands that had roused him, and it was these hands that smoothed the bruises and the burns with painstaking effort now. Anduin had put in so much labor over the past few months, that Varian began to wonder how much of himself was now a product of his child’s recreation. It was no secret that if Anduin had not regenerated entire parts of his body, Varian might have remained as little more than dust.

Had Anduin resurrected him, then? Snatched him back from the threshold of the dead? Varian thought this was possible, insofar as he thought that Anduin himself might be a walking revenant, too. Sometimes, when Varian looked at him, he thought he saw the ghost of his mother. As the season wore on, and Varian sunk deeper into recovery, the distinct ideas of Anduin and Tiffin threatened to knot together in his head, just like how his muscles became knotted in his back.

Anduin did his best to untie those knots, at least. He spent hours and hours in single minded focus, massaging the tangles and burrs from Varian’s fel-wrought scars. Anduin’s hair, when he leaned in close, smelled like smoked wood and sweet herbs. It was reminiscent of the bundles burned in censers in a humble village church, a scent that brought back memories of a young woman with flowing golden hair, and of her smile which was replicated exquisitely in Anduin. During long cold nights when he missed her company, and snow drifted in whispers from a formidable sky, he appreciated the moments he could spend with her son.

“I’m sorry that I look so gruesome,” he said to the young man, late one evening. He was sitting on the edge of his bed in his chambers, shirtless in spite of the chill outside, and his hair hung loose over his shoulders as he allowed Anduin to tend him. There was a fire burning in the grate, but it had yet to warm the space completely, and every now and again a sigh of icy air would rattle around the edges of the doorway. “I know I’ve always looked worse for wear, and now the scarring doesn’t do me any favors.”

“I will be able to minimize most of the scars eventually,” Anduin replied. “and even if I didn’t, you don’t look gruesome. You look like you nearly died.”

“What’s the difference?” Varian’s lips curled in amusement, and Anduin sighed. He had been working on healing Varian’s spine that evening, massaging herbal oil into the notches on his back. The flesh there, Varian knew, was adorned with a ladder of contorted tissue – Anduin had done a good job, knitting bones and muscle and skin back together in a pinch, but correcting the ugliness that lingered was a different beast entirely. At least Varian knew now, why alchemists sold health potions for coppers, and beauty creams for gold.

“There is a difference,” Anduin told him lightly, and he left it at that. Varian sighed, and closed his eyes.

“Your mother called me gruesome when we first met,” He divulged to him. It was a passing thought - one of those ones that darted through his mind with increasing frequency as the nadir of the season drew closer and the specter of his late wife loomed larger in his mind - but he said it aloud because right now, he just wanted to hear Anduin speak back. He had become far more soft-spoken and reserved lately, and Varian wasn’t exactly sure why. “I don’t think she was talking about my face, though. She just didn’t like my personality.”

It was a well known fact that the pair of them had hated each other, in the beginning. Now more than ever, though, Varian was glad they had ultimately fallen in love. She had given him an heir, after all, as well as a savior. There had been times over the past few months he had even thought that Anduin was his own private saint, but the more he thought about it the more he believed he was really just a constant reminder of every single thing Varian had ever gotten right in his lifetime.

Anduin did not engage though, merely making a sound of acknowledgement in response. Varian was beginning to feel uncomfortable now - had he done something to upset the man? Had his grumbling about his scars somehow offended him? Varian knew he was doing his best, and he didn't really mind if he looked terrible. It wasn’t as though he was going out and trying to remarry with much urgency. 

“What’s wrong?” Varian asked, twisting around so he could peer into the shadows of Anduin’s face.

“Nothing.” The prince replied.

“You have to tell me if doing this is a strain on you.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re not, Anduin. 

With a sigh, Anduin sat back on the mattress, and swept his hair back off his face.

“Father, I assure you I’m fine. I just find the wintertime miserable, is all.” He paused for a moment, expression terse,and Varian thought that he might have finished offering his explanation. He hadn’t.

“It’s been so terribly cold lately, and the days are so short. I can’t help but feel as though summer will never come.”

Varian wasn’t always the greatest at grasping unsaid things. But he wasn’t stupid.

“That’s it?” he asked, “You’re concerned about the weather?”

“Yes.”

A pause. Varian drilled into his son with his eyes, and it really did seem as though Anduin was going to hold his tongue on this. After a few drawn out seconds of staring, though, he relented, visibly sagging at the shoulders as he did.  

“No,” he said, worrying his bottom lip with his teeth. “No not really. In truth, I’m worried about you. I’ve been having strange dreams about a life where you didn’t come back to me, and I’ve noticed you become so brooding lately that I fear my work isn’t helping. What am I supposed to do if I wake up one morning only to find you’ve died?”

Varian had to admit, this was unexpected. Anduin was perceptive, a consequence of dipping his toes in the shadowed side of the light, so it wasn’t surprising to hear he had picked up on Varian’s distaste for the season. The morbid features of this anxiety though were as unusual as they were unfounded. Varian ought to tell him as much.

“I don’t like the winter,” He admitted. “But you have done better by me than any other healer could. If I die now, I sincerely doubt it will be your failure.”

Anduin laughed, the nervous laugh of someone unsure how to take a compliment, or tell if Varian was serious.

“You don’t… intend to die now just to spite me?”

“No, I intend to remain living so I can continue to inconvenience you instead.”

This made Anduin laugh properly. The heaviness hanging over him lightened, just a little.

“That’s the closest I’ve ever heard you make to a joke in years.”

“I make plenty of jokes.”

“Telling Genn to fetch things hardly constitutes joking. Particularly considering he doesn’t think it’s funny.”

“I’ve never met anyone with less of a sense of humor than Greymane, you know.”

Anduin rolled his eyes.

“He saved your life , Dad. Be nice.”

Oh.

A slip of the tongue?

The word hung in the silence that followed, weighing awkwardly on the both of them. Neither wanted to be the first to acknowledge it, though, or pinpoint the exact distinction between ‘Dad’ and ‘Father’. All Varian knew was that one was far more relaxed and intimate than the other, and that Anduin hadn’t called him “Dad” since…

Well, actually, Anduin had never called him “Dad”. When he was an infant, it was the title Tiffin chose to croon at him, while she clutched him close against her breast.

Mom and Dad love you, our sweet baby child.

Anduin cleared his throat, and changed the subject.

“Anyway, as I was saying. This winter has been giving me a lot of trouble. I can feel the fractures from the bell, you know? It seems to ache a lot more, in the cold.”

“It’s not so bad in a warm keep with warm company. You know winter was your mother’s favorite season?”

“It was?”

“Uh huh.” Varian raised his arms, pulling his upper body into a languid stretch. He could feel Anduin’s gaze on him as he moved, sensing the way his eyes pinned all his muscles and made sure everything was morphing correctly beneath his skin. “Winter’s Veil was her favorite celebration. She loved to give gifts to everyone, even though I told her many times that I thought it was ridiculous. And she had a knack for giving everyone the best gifts they had ever gotten.”

“No wonder you have spoken of her twice today,” Anduin pulled his legs under himself, crossing them neatly in the way the monks of Pandaria were apt to. It was a habit he had picked up on his stay there, and one that Varian typically found much too informal, but he did allow him to do it when the two of them were alone. “The season has put her on your mind.”

Varian supposed this was probably true. He nodded and let his arms drop back down to his side.

“I can stop, if you like.”

“No, I’m interested.” Anduin’s eyes glimmered as he regarded his father, lips curved upwards in a tentative smile. “I like to hear about her, you know that. And the softer side of you was one I regretted not seeing more of, when I thought I lost you.”

You didn’t nearly lose me, Varian thought to himself, If I had died, I would have lost you.

“A brush with death puts things into perspective.” Varian assured him. “But you’re right. I very much regret not sharing it. It’s been nineteen years now though, it’s time I began to appreciate the most valuable gift your mother ever gave to me.”

“And what might that be?”

“You.”

Anduin blinked a few times, as though the comment took him by surprise, but he didn’t want to let it show in his expression. As skilled as he was at self-control, though, he couldn’t stop the sudden darkness that rose in his cheeks.

That blush. That was a dangerously familiar quality. Even though Varian hadn’t seen it for years now, he would never forget the dust of color that spread across Tiffin’s face when she had drunk too heavily, and they stumbled into their bedchambers, and she knew he was about to bend her over her writing desk and –

“Oh,” Anduin said, pulling him back to the present. “Well, I mean. To be fair, half of me was your doing.”

Now it was Varian’s turn to laugh. He wasn’t sure if he was laughing because it was funny, or if he was just looking for something to disarm the tension. Anduin giggled uncomfortably at first, before succumbing to a bubble of genuine amusement. His voice really was so magical. Varian could listen to it for days and days.

“Not the good half,” Varian told him. “But definitely the half that loathes the cold.”

“You just need something to keep you warm,” Anduin’s tone was fond. He lay a palm against the back of Varian’s shoulder. Warmth spread quickly over Varian’s bared skin, and pooled in his belly. It was quite miraculous, the way that Anduin could generate heat through the power of the light in his hands.

“I’m afraid I can’t return the favor,” Varian said. “My hands aren’t made for magic.”

“They are skilled in other ways.”

“You don’t know half of it. But maybe I should take a word of Tiffin’s advice for once, and give you a gift for the season instead.”

“A gift?”

“Why not. What do you want?”

It felt strange, to make an offer like this. Varian was not a particularly generous man, even with his own flesh and blood. Perhaps Anduin’s gentle ministrations had left him stupid and soft hearted? 

Anduin was silent for a moment, contemplating his response, but after a few moments there was a rather major (and surprising) shift in his demeanor. Varian had meant the offer to be light and teasing, but Anduin’s change in mood betrayed a certain… vulnerability that Varian didn’t recognise. The hand resting on his shoulder became suddenly heavier – either that, or Varian was more aware of it than he had been previously.

“I can’t see myself getting what I really want from you,” Anduin said.

“Why not? I’m the King, I can get you anything you could want.”

“You can’t get me this.” Anduin told him, far too quickly. “Well, technically you can. But I refuse to ask because….”

Varian felt his old heart thud a little off-kilter.

“Because what?”

“Well. It’s a little bit… Ah.”

Clearly frustrated with himself, Anduin withdrew his hand and rubbed his palm against his forehead. Varian was on high alert now, his body tense. His previous calm had dissolved, and been replaced with terse worry.

What on earth could be that difficult to ask for?

He hoped it wasn’t something terrible. Something which would compromise the way he saw the man, like a beacon of virtue and perfect, holy light.

Ultimately it probably was.

Anduin seemed to swallow his fear as he dropped his hand. In the blink of an eye his gaze steadied, his shoulders rose and fell in a resolute breath, and he was leaning in to cover the distance between them. He swept their lips together, his and his father’s, into a tentative and heart-melting kiss. His mouth was soft, slightly hotter than the rest of him, and Varian felt something deep within himself smolder.

He pulled back after an eternity, and hesitated to see what Varian would do. For a whole thirty seconds, the King of Stormwind and leader of the Alliance had no ideas. The lingering warmth of the hand on his shoulder throbbed silently, and Anduin’s eyes were vibrant like the ocean in the dawn.

Fuck it, he thought, cocking his head in invitation for Anduin to kiss him again. He did so, and then he kissed him so many times that in the end, Varian stopped counting.

At the back of his mind an unwelcome thought presented itself.

This was exceptionally inappropriate. No wonder that Anduin had been so hesitant to ask it of him!

So why didn’t it feel bad to give in?

Anduin’s hands dragged through his long, dark hair, twisting in the roots and holding him close enough that the rest of the world around them stopped existing. Varian brought a hand up to the young man’s chest, to press him back against the pillows, and he kept waiting for the realization of what they were doing to strike him. The seconds passed, one after the other, and yet that clarity still did not come.

It didn;t come even when Anduin’s lips parted, tongue sliding against Varian’s teeth, and Varian felt a jolt of arousal deep in his stomach. This kind of thing… he knew it should disgust him. But for some reason all he could think was that the feeling of his mouth was so like hers was. The way his breath caught was such a perfect replication. If he closed his eyes, and gave into the embrace, he could almost believe he had died and returned to her again.

Oh, but not quite entirely. There were still things about him that were exquisitely foreign. He was far more tactile than she was, for one thing, grasping at Varian’s body with curious hands, and when he arched up to press against Varian’s hips it was a pliant, rigid cock that slid between their bellies.

Varian groaned, and broke away from his lips. It was probably the hardest thing he had ever done.

“I hope you only meant to ask for the kiss,” He muttered, and with a whimper Anduin shook his head.

“No,” he said. “I didn’t.”

“Then what?”

Anduin’s brows furrowed, his eyes closing against the harshness of the world around him. This was something he had always done, but something Varian had never noticed until right now. Whenever anything became too much, he closed in on himself, and those blue eyes disappeared behind a wall of denial or perhaps…

Fortification?

“I want you to fuck me,” he breathed, eyes flickering open. They pierced Varian with an arrow of nostalgia, one far more searing than any felfire, far deeper than any resonant healing reconfiguring his flesh and bones. 

Varian didn’t think to ask him why he would want such a thing, any more than he thought to ask himself why he would be so willing to oblige. Surely, since it came so naturally to him, it was coming naturally to Anduin too? The way he arched up against Varian’s body when they kissed again betrayed nothing but a raw, unbridled desire. The kind of desire that was completely detached from any sense of decency the young man might have had.

In fact, Anduin’s unbridled lust took Varian by surprise. He had not dedicated much time to wondering about the nature of his son’s sexuality, a King was far too busy for things like that, but now Varian suddenly found himself wondering for the first time if Anduin had taken lovers while he had been gone. If so, when had that started? Had they always been men? He hoped for the sake of his bloodline, that Anduin’s preference skewed in both directions as his own did.

“You’ve been fucked before?” Varian asked him through panted breaths, needing to check before he just went ahead and did it. Anduin whined and shook his head.

“I know how to do it though,” He insisted. “I swear.”

Ah. That might be an issue. Varian wasn’t sure he wanted to take him for the first time, in case he found he really didn’t like it. He was already running enough of a risk that the blond might hold this exchange as a mark against him forever.  

“What do you mean you ‘know how to do it’?”

“I know how to have sex, Dad.”

Varian felt a rush of heat in his face. He spluttered, losing track of what he had been thinking about moments before.

“Don’t say that!”

“What? That I know how to have sex? Or do you not want me to call you Dad?” His gaze was so intense, so resolute, that Varian couldn’t pull his eyes away from him. His entire body was trembling with adrenaline. His cheeks were dark, aroused and self-conscious, and his lips were flushed and full and wet. Varian, regarding him, replaying the sound of that word in his mouth, felt his balls ache with longing. The way his voice caressed the sound turned his loins molten.

Mom and Dad love you, our sweet baby child.

“Dad,” Varian exhaled, “It’s too strange.”

Anduin tilted his chin up in defiance.

“Daddy, then?” he asked. “Don’t try and deny you like it. I can feel your cock twitching, you know.”

Varian, weakened by the words as though Anduin had put magic upon him, strangled a low growl. He bowed his head to bury his face in the side of Anduin’s neck. His scent filled his head, his hair pressed softly against his forehead, and beneath him, Anduin rocked his hips up. Their dicks slid against one another through their clothing, and his son let out a soft moan of pleasure.

“Fuck me,” He said again. “Please Daddy, fuck me,”

Varian’s face felt like it was on fire. His cock had never been this hard in his life. Still, though, that realization that they should stop, that this was terrible and gross and thoroughly immoral, never came.

It never came.

Varian gave in, sinking his teeth into Anduin’s throat. He bit him softly, but hard enough that he gasped, and Varian could feel his pulse throbbing beneath his tongue. Anduin’s hands fumbled with the edges of Varian’s trousers, trying to push them down his hips and release his length from captivity. Varian lifted himself enough to help facilitate that, his own hands sliding under Anduin’s shirt to cup his chest where breasts would have been if he had had them. It was muscle memory, an old habit, but even flat-chested Anduin had a positive response. His nipples were rigid beneath Varian’s fingertips, and when Varian squeezed him he arched up. A loud groan of satisfaction escaped him.

Fuck,”

Varian really needed to remember to scold him for that filthy mouth. He should scold him for so many things, that was certain, but Varian also knew that Anduin’s desires were entirely his own.

Anduin had a history of getting what he wanted.

Besides, Varian didn’t want to fight him.

“Sensitive tits,” He murmured against Anduin’s neck. He refrained from telling him that his mother had been the same, flat-chested and sensitive, and weak for his lips and teeth on her breast.

“Shut up,” Anduin sounded embarrassed. “You liar. You said you didn’t have magic hands.”

“You were the one who said they were skilled in other ways.”

“I meant with a sword!”

“Oh, I’m good with a sword alright. You’re about to find out.”

Anduin whined at that, his head dropping back against the pillow and his legs curling around Varian’s hips imploringly.

Light, I’ve changed my mind. Never make another joke again. You can use the massage oil on the shelf, by the way.”

It took Varian a moment to remember, that the oil Anduin used to heal his scarring was stored in a glass bottle in the nook above the bed. He wasted no time in grabbing it, spilling some over his fingers while Anduin squirmed and divested himself of his shirt and pants. Bared now, Anduin was even more gorgeous, and Varian felt ten times as conscious of his gnarled shoulders and weathered face as he did previously.

“Remember earlier when I said I was sorry for being so gruesome?” He asked, eyes running over the terrain of Anduin’s stomach, and following the light trail of blonde hair from his bellybutton to the base of his cock.

“Mmm, yes.”

“Well, that’s nothing compared to how sorry I feel about it now.”

Varian sat back, shuffling to kneel between Anduin’s legs, and with a soft noise of protest Anduin propped himself up to watch as Varian pushed one of his thighs up to his chest. 

“I said it's fine,” Anduin told him, barely acknowledging the way Varian manipulated his body as he made room for his fingers. “Truly. I think you’re magnificent. I really, really do.”

Magnificent?

No one had ever called him that before. And to be described so tenderly by someone so beautiful?

Varian was moved. He had to drop his eyes, unable to bear the shame of being witnessed any longer. He stroked his oiled fingers over the bridge behind Anduin’s balls, watching his thigh muscles tense as he drew closer to his entrance. He hadn’t even been touched, and Varian could see a glassy bead of precome forming at the tip of his cock. It occurred to him, something he could do to occupy himself, and to distract Anduin while he did this thing which could be unpleasant for someone who was experiencing it for the first time.

He leaned in, dragging his tongue against the back of Anduin’s cockhead, and let his fingertip ease into his body in a slow, steady motion. Anduin’s hands immediately moved to hold the back of Varian’s head. He gripped fistfuls of loose hair, voicing his delight without restraint, telling him exactly how good it felt to have a part of his Daddy inside him.

He was too sexy. Too… uninhibited. 

Varian loved it.  

He slid his lips around the tip of Anduin’s erection, and curled his finger inside him in the way he best remembered how. He hadn’t done this for so long, but the instinct was as fresh as though it had been yesterday. The pad of his fingertip brushed over that trigger, the point notched behind the base of Anduin’s cock, and the thighs either side of his face clenched in response. Anduin writhed against the sheets. His breath was coming in short, shallow mouthfuls. He swore quietly, and Varian swallowed down more of his length. He wondered if he could make the man scream.

He came close, certainly, massaging inside him in slow, teasing circles. Anduin yanked on his hair and begged him for release, but drawing on every last ounce of self-restraint Varian stopped short once he had fit three fingers inside. Anduin complained, breathless, when he removed them, but Varian was too far gone to bother teasing - he reached for more massage oil, and slicked himself from base to tip in preparation.

Varian hadn’t fucked anyone for years and years. He hadn’t done anything more than come over the back of his own hand. Usually, he did it to the memory of a dead woman, so he couldn’t help the wave of disbelief that stole over him as he positioned himself, with Anduin’s hips lifted and resting against his thighs. Not just because this was his son but also –

Oh. Oh no.

There was that realization.

This was it. The point of no return. Or at least, it was a point of no return. He would have had to have been stupid, to think that even if they stopped now and never spoke of it they could revert their relationship to the way that things were, but still he thought he needed to acknowledge that of all the points, all the lines they had slid across so far tonight, this point was certainly the last one. 

This was the last point before he fucked his own child. The last point before he took Anduin’s virginity from him. He wondered briefly if right now, Tiffin could see them. Would she understand? Or perhaps she had been the one who sent him this young man to fuck in memory of her? Varian liked that idea, deep down inside himself, but nonetheless he thought as he slid the head of his dick against Anduin’s entrance that that was a truly fucked up idea to have.

There was no stopping now, though. The point of no return had come a thousand points too late. Anduin was already moaning and accepting him, and Varian was already halfway inside. Shaking hands were clawing at his arms, trying to drag him closer, and the gasp of bliss that came off Anduin’s lips once Varian’s hips were flush against his ass was obscene.

“Oh, Daddy, yes…

He felt so good. He was so hot, and welcoming, and deep. A horror rolled over Varian, a horror that bled into pleasure, seeping down his nerve endings and tingling in every sensitive spot from the toes right up to the back of his neck. Anduin rocked his hips invitingly, urging him to start to fuck him, and when Varian did and he found the friction delicious. Exhilarating.

Wonderful.

How much more lifetime had Anduin’s touch bought him? How many more nights could they spend together, locked in one another completely like this? Varian captured Anduin’s lips in his, swallowing the sounds he was making in time with the motion of their hips. Everything about him was so sensuous, from the way he breathed to the way his heels dug into the meat at the base of Varian’s back. 

Varian could have easily fucked him like this endlessly. Building a slow and regular pace with Anduin’s length sandwiched between their navels. Soon, though, the young man’s movements began to stutter, and he gasped into Varian’s mouth impatiently.

“Let me roll over,” he insisted, pushing his father away. He turned onto his front, raised his hips up, and buried his face deeply into the pillow. Varian wasted no time taking him again, and admittedly this angle was so much easier for his poor, shattered body. Anduin, with a hand moving down between his legs to jerk himself off, seemed to appreciate it too.

Varian’s dick had never felt as good as it did right now. With a low rumble in his chest, he ground his pelvis against Anduin’s ass, drinking in his whine and letting his thumbs drag small circles over pale, well-shaped hips. The hand Anduin was using to stroke himself moved fast and urgent, and Varian bit down on the inside of his cheek as he realized he would need to speed up or Anduin would finish before he did.

Varian realized he very badly wanted the man to come with his body leaking his seed. This was a new and strange desire – not something he had even thought about with Tiffin, before, but definitely an idea he wanted to explore further. Preferably over and over again.

He elevated his pace, pushing himself so hard that he knew he would be sore when the fever of sex abandoned him. Anduin made a pained noise, but it expressed ecstasy instead of agony. He stumbled a mouthful of words that Varian couldn’t make sense of, the frenzied motions of their contact leaving them buried into the pillow. .

“What’d you say, baby?” Varian reached down to grab Anduin by the hair. With a soft tug, he tipped his head back, so Anduin could speak without being muffled completely.

Harder,” came the response, still barely coherent through his desperation. Fuck me harder.”

“Are you gonna ask nicely?”

Please , Daddy” It came out in a harsh sob. “ Please fuck me harder.”

As he gave him what he wanted, Varian knew Anduin was going to need to heal the damage this was doing to Varian’s muscles. He didn’t feel it right now though, too addled by the sensation of climax fast approaching, and as he found himself teetering that question he had pondered about making Anduin scream found its answer. His voice reverberated against cold stone walls, echoing in the warm, private space where the two of them were the only people in the world.

Varian’s last coherent thought was that he was so, so much louder than his mother.

Anduin’s body accommodated his climax perfectly - Varian filled him in hard, deep thrusts, and his head tipped back in absolute awe as his orgasm throbbed through him like a rolling wave. Distantly, he heard himself exclaim something, and he could feel Anduin shaking around his cock. That slim, well-formed back shivered as he met his own release, his legs almost giving way under the intensity heaving over him. As Varian came back to himself and began to catch his breath, he became aware that he was softening with his length still buried deep in Anduin’s body.

He winced as he pulled himself out, embarrassed over the mess he had made. Without him at his back to prop his hips up, Anduin collapsed like a ragdoll against the mattress.

“Fuck,” he said to himself, under his breath.

Fuck.

Anduin made a weak sound, like he was entirely spent, and unsure what to do with him just yet Varian just let himself fall to the mattress at his side. A sharp pain shot through his right arm as he landed. He inhaled sharply.

“Are you okay?” Anduin panted, turning his sweaty face to look to him and cracking open a single, bright blue eye.

“Fine,” Varian fibbed, sinking back against the pillow. “I might have twisted something,”

Anduin gave an exhausted groan, and using what looked like the last of his strength he lifted a hand to clasp around Varian’s forearm.

“I can heal you in a moment,” He said, voice still breathy. “I need a moment to just… recover.”

Varian supposed that was fair enough.

__________________________________________________

The aftermath was not as awkward as Varian might have guessed.

He helped Anduin to clean himself as much as he could, and then he took a moment to tidy himself as well. While he did, his son summoned an attendant to fetch them water and bread and wine, and Varian was grateful for the sustenance. Although Varian’s whole body throbbed with remorse, Anduin seemed to move with a spring in his step, and when he returned to bed to offer Varian a fresh baked bread roll, he seemed to glow with a renewed vigor.

Varian accepted the offering, breaking the roll and offering half back to him. Anduin took it, with a small smile, and dropped down against the pillows at his side.

“Sore?” He asked, shuffling close enough that their bodies could touch again.

“I think I died,” Varian reported.

“Exercise is an important part of the healing process,” Anduin said, matter-of-factly. Too tired to argue, Varian just shoved a fistful of bread into his mouth. The silence that echoed between them was amicable, and Varian was aware that in spite of the aches that ravaged his body, he really was extremely cosy and warm.

It didn’t feel like winter in here, any more.

After they had eaten, and spent a while simply sitting in silent thought, Varian became aware of Anduin’s hands securing around a hank of his wild, rumpled hair. Those clever hands began to braid it, pulling one section over the other with astonishing patience, and the sensation of gentle pulling was pleasant on Varian’s scalp. Content to be groomed like this, his eyes dropped shut, and a part of him hoped this moment would never end.

“You know I love you, Anduin.” He mumbled. Anduin made a noise of agreement, and the sheets rustled under him as he shifted his weight.

“I know. I love you too,”

Varian grunted, and briefly he found himself thinking about what that word could mean. Varian had loved Anduin’s mother, certainly, and he loved her only begotten son, and yet somehow those feelings were both different and the same. In a way, it was like seeing love reflected in a mirror. In a way, it was like trying to pinpoint the place where the nighttime bled into the dawn. Did Anduin love him in the same way too, or was his version of love different again? If it was different, then how would Varian even know that? He did not have the best track record, when it came to understanding his son.

“Anduin?”

“Yes?”

“Why did we do that?”

“What do you mean? I thought we did it because we wanted to.”

“Yes, we did. At least, I did. But what I’m asking is why did we want to?”

This made Anduin pause for a moment.

“I don’t know,” he admitted eventually. “Fear maybe? Regret? I think… almost losing you made me rethink a lot of things in my life you know? Made me think about how I could have been better, or how I could have done more, and about how maybe you could have as well.”

“But what does that have to do with anything?”

“Well, you surviving really did seem like a sign. Don’t you ever wish you had a second chance to love someone you thought was gone?”

A second chance. Another opportunity to appreciate the beauty in things that he had previously taken for granted. That beauty really could be in anything, in a frozen winter's dawn, or in shining blond hair, ir in a new hand to hold in his own as he confronted all those things which were yet to come. 

He could not think of a better gift to get.