Julius passed his new experimental drinks around with a grin as his squad let out a raucous cheer. You leaned on the wall, further away from the rest, keeping an eye out for trouble. As the vice captain of the best yet the rowdiest squad amongst the magic knights, you needed to make sure nobody went too far during these squad parties.
Sometimes you needed to keep even the captain in line...Ah, who were you kidding? You needed to keep the captain in line all the time.
You took a deep breath and sighed.
It was a very exhausting job but it was very rewarding. To protect the kingdom, to keep the peace, to bring a smile on people's faces, relieved that they will be alright...there is no job better than this.
Your gaze landed on Julius with an affectionate smile.
And no one did it better than Captain Julius Novachrono, Wizard King to-be.
You were looking down, lost in your own thoughts about the future when Julius teleported next to your side. You tensed slightly at the sudden movement before relaxing. He handed you a drink as he wore a mischievous grin.
"Did I get you?"
"No," you deadpanned. He had always tried to jump you or catch you off guard since you two were younger but you stubbornly learned how to sense his speed and presence just so you could win this little game between you two. It was the sole reason why you could even challenge Julius.
"Aw, I'll get you next time," he said, like always. You two laughed good-naturedly as you clinked your glasses together and you took a moment to observe the drink as he took a sip from his own.
You stared, entranced by the cool colors bleeding into the warm ones as silver flecks blinked in and out of existence.
"I call it, 'Our Sunset.'" Your eyes met his as a proud smile crept up his face at your impressed look.
Julius often made drinks that were conventionally made from alchohol and they would taste amazing. But sometimes, just sometimes, he would make these mysterious drinks that tasted vividly like ideas, emotions, and memories. They were undescribable drinks that could only be described by the concepts they exemplify.
"'Our...Sunset?'" You asked out loud, wondering what it would make you relive.
Julius nodded and pointed at the window next to you as he looped his arm through your's and lead you closer.
"It's something we all see and experience which is where the 'Our' comes from and because it looks like a sunset." He explained as he raised his glass high out the window as he squinted at it through one eye. You assumed it was to align the colors of the drink with the sky. "And...I hope it tastes like a sunset too..."
He watched carefully as you brought the rim of the glass up to your lips, secretly waiting for your approval.
You took a big gulp, intent on feeling all that the drink had to offer, and boy did you feel it.
You felt a breeze that wasn't there as warmth blanketed you like a lingering hug before it vanished, leaving you a little cold. It felt like the end of something good in your life. Like the loss of something you weren't ready to let go.
The first thing that came to your mind was Julius. Tears welled up unwillingly and you let them run their course with a defeated smile. He only had his eyes on the top. He will leave you with the burden of captainship and...leave you. Your mind couldn't go past that. He will leave you and that was the end of it. The end of your warmth.
"Hey, why are you crying?" Julius cradled your face in his hands as his thumb brushed your tears away.
You hated it. You hated it when he loved you, when he cared for you, because one day, you will wake up and you won't be there to feel his presence, his love, his warmth.
"Was it that bad?" He joked. Everyone in the room had already left a while ago when they noticed that their captain and vice captain were sharing a moment. Your squad hoped that with enough private moments, you two would stop hurting yourselves and confess already.
You and Julius have been close friends since you were children and your relationship blurred all lines of convention. Some percieved you two as friends, some as lovers, and sometimes, despite your private discomfort, as siblings.
Nobody knew where it began or ended and if you and Julius were being honest, neither did you two.
"No, it was good," you answered at last. "It was perfect."
"So, what did it taste like?" He let his hands fall.
"It tasted like the end..." You focused your eyes on the setting sun. "And I hate it."
"Well, doesn't it taste like more?" Julius implored as he took your hands in his, making you look up at him in confusion.
"Don't you feel the warmth in the aftertaste?"
The warmth...yes, you were warm but that was because Julius was here, not because of—Oh.
This was induced by the drink, not the natural warmth that Julius brings you.
"What end did you think of when you drank it?"
You stared at him for a moment, contemplative, before you realized it was useless hiding from your oldest friend.
"You, gone." Tears blurred your vision. "That was the end."
"What do you mean? I will always be there." He pulled you into a tight hug with an exasperated sigh. "It's pretty tough to kill me, you know?"
You silently shook in his grasp.
"I mean, when you go away to become Wizard King."
Julius pulled back to look at you. He knew you weren't afraid to stand in his shadow. In fact, you argued with those that compared you two, "What shadow? I am standing in his light and that is enough."
"Don't leave me," you choked out.
Julius was distraught. He had to leave you. He squeezed his eyes shut and sighed. Maybe there’s a way.
"Do you want to be Captain?"
"I don't care for the position. I just want to help you realize your hopes and dreams for this godforsaken kingdom."
"Our hopes and dreams."
“Yes,” You conceded with a weary smile and wiped your tears with a sniffle. “Ours.”
He smiled nervously as he scratched the side of his head in a cute gesture.
“Then,” he looked away. “Would you like to come work with me as an advisor?”
You stared, wide-eyed. You’ve wanted the position but Julius had never offered it to you and now? You didn’t want his pity.
“Isn’t Marx going to be one?”
He pulled you close by your waist with an intimacy only life-long friends share.
“Yes, but he will need some help. I had never asked you because I thought perhaps you should be recognized for your efforts once you become captain but if you don’t particularly care for it...” He lowered his head with uncharacteristic shyness. “I want you to stay by my side...And never leave...”
You couldn’t even properly comprehend the relief that flooded you. It was nearly euphoric. Yes, an end was coming, but so was a new dawn, a new day, a new chapter in your life with Julius by your side.
You pressed your forehead against his with a content smile.
“I would like that.”