Kevin carefully shut the door behind him, hushing the quiet whispers of the ocean that would expose his treachery. Secured tightly beneath his arm was a crinkled brown bag.
He crept over to the foot of the bed and winced when a squeaky floorboard cried out. He paused and waited. Ambrosius shifted slightly on the bed. Kevin then sighed in relief when he saw the other man was not disturbed.
The blond continued a more quiet tread towards the trunk and slowly removed the book of Tresum. He knelt down beside it and quickly turned the pages.
"Lodestones… check… sulfur…" he muttered quietly to himself as he checked off the items in the spell. He could easily manage slipping from Ambrosius's view for fifteen minutes at a time. He wouldn't push for any longer than that, but that meant he was always rushed when he escaped to the market.
Almost as if sensing danger, Kevin stilled. He listened and a second later he could hear Ambrosius quietly stirring from his nest of blankets. Kevin quickly dropped the book back into the trunk and shoved the bag underneath the bed. He stripped the shirt from his back and immediately nestled against Ambrosius on the bed.
"Kevin…" he moaned softly. "What were you doing out of bed?"
Kevin hugged Bro from behind and gave a reassuring kiss to his shoulder. "I'm right here. Don't worry about it."
Ambrosius turned around in his arms and pulled Kevin against his chest. He sleepily nuzzled his hair and sighed. "You smell like salt. Where you at the beach?"
"I just went for a quick swim."
"I told you not to go out of my sight. You're not supposed to go anywhere without me."
"You've been so tired lately. I didn't want to wake you."
"You've gotten too comfortable in this home," he said hoarsely as he sat up. He was fully awake now. "You've forgotten your place in Tresum."
Kevin smiled sweetly at Bro then he grabbed his neck and pulled him in for a long kiss.
"I'm sorry," he whispered against his lips before kissing him again. "I couldn't sleep hearing those seagulls. It's like they were calling out to me."
When Kevin tried to distract him with another kiss, Ambrosius held him away. "Didn't I say I would punish you the next time you disobeyed me?"
Kevin smiled back. "Yeah, yeah…" he murmured dismissively. "Hellfire and chains, trapped in manacles for 200 years. I got it."
He nuzzled against Ambrosius's chin and tried to kiss him again. Bro pushed him back and began to tangle his fingers in Kevin's blond hairs.
"I'm afraid you've gotten too smart for me, Kevin," he said dangerously slow as his hand moved to caress his face. "You've learned not to take my threats seriously because you know I would never hurt you." He grabbed the younger man's chin and looked into his large eyes. "So, no hellfire for you. No dungeons either. I've decided on another punishment more suitable for your behavior."
Kevin laughed and grabbed his hand away from his chin. He then began to kiss each knuckle. "Oh, yeah? Tell me."
Ambrosius snatched his hand away from Kevin's eager mouth then spoke sternly. "The next time you disobey one of my orders, you will go over my knee for a spanking."
For a moment, the smile withdrew from Kevin's face, but as he continued to stare at Ambrosius, his laughter returned. "Come on, Bro. You wouldn't do that either."
He tried to wrap his arms around Ambrosius's waist, but again the other man pulled his hands away.
"Do you remember the discussion we had the night you became my aspirant?"
Finally, Kevin withdrew his arms and sat on the edge of the bed. He pressed his chin down against his chest and shrunk his shoulders as he crossed his arms. It seemed like such a long time ago when Bro discussed their rules and the consequences of breaking them. He actually thought that their relationship had moved past aspirants and avatars.
"I see that you do," Ambrosius declared as he left the bed.
Kevin rubbed his arms nervously. He had earned some freedom within the past six months. If even the slightest portion of it was taken away, he wouldn't be able to continue his plans.
"I have been good," Kevin spoke softly to himself. "You said that I have."
"Don't think I don't know that you've been sneaking off," Ambrosius growled from the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water. "You wear that bracelet for a reason."
Kevin cringed and examined the bracelet as it suddenly felt heavy against his wrist.
"If I see you with Toby," Bro added firmly. "I will kill him on the spot."
"It would make it easier if you just fired him," the blond muttered defensively from under his breath.
"Still protecting him I see," he said casually, but the threat was still there.
"No!" Kevin jumped up immediately and then wrapped his arms around Bro's neck. "It's just that…"
Ambrosius brushed the blond's hair back and kissed his forehead. "What is it?"
"When I'm at the club, I want to spend time with you," he pouted. "I don't want anything to interrupt that."
Ambrosius chuckled quietly then ran his hands along Kevin's muscled arms. "That's why I have to keep Toby close. He won't be able to try anything without me knowing about it."
Kevin lowered his eyes. That was exactly why he couldn't expect Toby to save him. He couldn't make a single attempt without getting hurt.
Even with his eyes lowered, Kevin could sense Bro studying him. Suddenly becoming aware of his own frown, he smiled back up Ambrosius. He hated to admit it, but he was also was relieved that Toby couldn't interfere, because that meant Bro would stay safe, too. If Kevin wanted his freedom, he would have to do it himself. It was the only way to ensure the safety of both Ambrosius and Toby.
"I'm sorry I went for a swim without you," the blond offered kindly.
Ambrosius furrowed his brows, but nodded. "Just see to it that you don't do it again. I will make good on my promise the next time."
Kevin rolled his eyes and groaned, but he snatched the bottle of water from Ambrosius's hand and walked away. He threw himself on the bed, spilling the water as he poured it into his mouth. He felt Ambrosius's shadow fall down on him as the he towered over him next to the bed.
"You're getting my bed wet," he observed with crossed arms.
"Am I?" Kevin smiled and he poured the water over his head to cool off. He then shook his hair, splashing Bro with droplets of water.
"You really are an insolent aspirant, aren't you?" he growled as he crawled on top of Kevin.
Kevin poured the last of the water over Bro's head and laughed. "Now who's getting the bed wet?"
"I'm too tired for such play so early in the morning," he muttered against Kevin's neck as he began to lick off the water and tease his ribs with his fingertips.
Kevin laughed as he pushed Ambrosius off of him and pinned him on the bed. Since he was slowly bleeding the power away from Bro, he was easily able to overpower him physically. Of course, Bro would never be against a little lighthearted wrestling on the bed.
This newfound strength was exciting to Kevin, so a part of him was eager to try using magic against Bro, but he knew he would have to wait for exactly the right moment. For now, Ambrosius just blamed his weakness on simple fatigue. He never suspected Kevin of the theft and sometimes that made the blond feel ashamed.
"I'll get you relaxed," Kevin said as he spun Ambrosius onto his stomach and straddled his waist. He then began to rub his shoulders and neck. A gentle massage was the least he could for Bro as his strained muscles continued to ache. It wasn't easy watching the other man breakdown, but it was the only option he had at the moment.
"It's that cursed emissary from the Tresum Council," Ambrosius moaned as he melted into Kevin's touch. "He's blocking most of my power."
"I'm sorry," Kevin replied softly. He couldn't apologize for his own actions, so he'd offer his sympathy whenever possible.
"It's not your fault," Bro mumbled.
Kevin shook his head and cursed at himself. He really wanted to tell Ambrosius how sorry he felt. He never predicted he would develop feelings for him. That made everything he had to do so much harder.
"Well," Kevin sighed. "Then I'm sorry I went for a swim. I'll wake you next time so you won't worry."
When Kevin felt Ambrosius shift beneath him, he knelt down beside him on the bed to give him enough space to roll over.
"Remember what I said about the next time you disobey?"
Kevin rolled his eyes. "Yes. You only said it a minute ago."
"Repeat it," he ordered firmly. "What will I do?"
Kevin groaned and ran a hand through his hair. He then decided it wasn't such a bad thing to voice aloud since Ambrosius was too weak to actually make good on it.
"You'll spank me," he said sourly.
Appeased, Ambrosius reached out and slowly began to rub the back of Kevin's neck. Then he pulled him down onto the bed and settled him against his chest.
"It's not even eight," Ambrosius observed as he checked the bedside clock. "I won't head down to the club until noon. We can sleep in."
Kevin tapped his chest lightly, not at all interested in the idea. "I'm not tired. Can I go down to the beach?"
"Go into the kitchen and get something to eat. I'll be up by time you finish."
Kevin pressed his head against Ambrosius and groaned. "Fine," he sighed and raced towards the kitchen. "But I'm having breakfast in bed."
Ambrosius slung an arm around his eyes and grumbled. He then decided that a little sleep deprivation was worth it to keep Kevin close by, out of trouble, and away from Toby.
Ambrosius mostly talked to Marco. He had a complaint about everything, whether it was about music, lighting, or portable fans. Ambrosius meant it when he said he would protect his investment. While he was a silent partner, he had a say over everything at H2Eau.
Marco was behind the bar, defending his actions when he handed Ambrosius a drink. Bro was amused by Marco's safe ideas about running a club, but all his amusement was quickly washed away as Toby dashed by.
Ambrosius scowled at the other man. His bouncy presence at H2Eau was just a reminder that he was too weak to perform magic on him. Bro checked his watch and hissed at Marco,
"It's getting late. Shouldn't Toby be off by now?"
"Most people on the island enjoy a late dinner," Marco explained impatiently. "And most people only come to look at Toby."
Ambrosius studied Toby for a moment. He supposed that a man of lesser taste might find him appealing. At the very least, Toby was a suitable option when no one else was available, but other than causing him annoyance, Toby wasn't worth any attention.
"No," Ambrosius slowly answered Marco as caught sight of Adam trailing close behind Toby. "They come for his little puppy dog."
Bro watched the two men for a moment. Adam was a delectable conquest. He kept Bro occupied while he waited for Kevin. He wouldn't deny that it was pleasant experience to watch such a strong man squirm for his next hit of saint. He didn't understand why Toby didn't just give in and let Adam distract him from his troubles. He'd never have Kevin anyways. He might as well settle for second best.
Bro's entire body tensed as he saw Toby glancing at Kevin. His hand gripped the bar and he dug his claws into the counter. For a brief moment, Toby and Kevin made eye contact. It made his blood sizzle that either them thought they had the right to look at each other.
Ambrosius stomped over towards Kevin. Toby immediately broke his gaze and returned his attention back to Adam. Bro grabbed Kevin to stand. Then he immediately began to caress his face and comb back his hair. He needed to rub in Toby's face what he could never have.
Kevin smiled at first, but he felt guilty enjoying Ambrosius's tender touches in front of his friends. Bro was the enemy. He wasn't supposed to be enjoying himself.
Bro pressed his head close and nibbled at his ear. Kevin squirmed and laughed at first, then he retreated back a step.
"This was nice," Kevin stated enthusiastically. "I'm tired of being cooped up all day. I think the change in scenery did me well."
Bro continued to stroke his arm. "I'm glad you had fun, but we should head back. It's been a long day and I need my rest."
"Can't I just stay a little while longer?" Kevin pleaded. He knew Bro was weak to his attention, so he snaked an arm around his waist and drew him close. He then proceeded to nuzzle his hair against his cheek.
Ambrosius moaned at the embrace. It was rare when Kevin indulged in public affection, but he was pleased that the blond was openly displaying their love. "…I don't want you out when it gets dark."
"Please?" he asked with wide, brown eyes. "This is your club. I'm safe here."
Ambrosius groaned when Kevin snuck a tongue between his parted lips. He knew that if he brought the restless blond back home now, he'd never get any sleep. So, he'd let him burn some energy off now so they both could sleep soundlessly that night.
Ambrosius slid his watch off his wrist and slipped it onto Kevin.
"The alarm is set for eight," Bro explained. "Head home then and don't keep me waiting."
"Got it," Kevin smiled in triumph.
"I own half this club. Don't embarrass me by making me have to drag you home."
"I said, I got it!" Kevin snapped. Now sufficiently annoyed, he hoped Ambrosius would be asleep by time he got home so he could quickly seep more power away from him.
Ambrosius left Kevin with one last kiss, then he hurriedly stomped his way towards Toby.
"You have the rest of the night off. Go home!" he hissed at Toby before finally disappearing.
"What's that guy's problem?" Toby scowled.
Adam simply shrugged. "I don't know. You just rub him the wrong way, I guess."
"I rub him the wrong way!"
Adam shrugged again. "I've hung around Bro long enough to know that he won't bother you if you don't bother him."
Toby lifted a brow then asked heatedly, "Just how often do you hang with him?"
Adam paused momentarily, then immediately decided that was not a conversation he wanted to have with Toby. Instead of responding, he shoved his hands inside his pockets and walked away.
"Aren't you going to talk to him?" Brit pushed as Toby sat at the bar with Adam. "He's been there for hours."
Toby shook his head bitterly. "No. He's happy with Bro. I just have to accept it."
"Toby, if Kevin needs help, he won't be able to ask you." Brit hadn't been following their relationship, but she knew that if Elena suddenly pulled away, it would be a signal that something was wrong.
Toby paused for a moment as he thought it over. It seemed like wishful thinking after everything Kevin had said to him, but it was enough to give him hope. He then gave Brit a slight nod and headed towards Kevin. Adam narrowed his eyes at Toby's retreating figure and then he glared angrily at Brit.
"What?" she asked with a lift of her brow.
Toby tapped Kevin on the shoulder and he quickly turned around. His face literally brightened when he saw him – a sure sign to Toby that his presence was still wanted.
"Toby," Kevin sighed heavy, as if using all his breath. "I missed you so much."
"Yeah," Toby smiled back. "I've missed you, too. How are things with Bro?"
Kevin bit his lip and shook his head mindlessly. "Exactly as you expect."
Toby grabbed both his shoulders and spoke firmly. "Kevin, we can just run away. It doesn't matter if he finds us, we'll just keep on running. The most important thing is that we get you away from him. We can figure everything out from there."
That was the problem. Toby didn't have a plan and that wasn't a safe defense against Tresum. Kevin felt secure with his own plan. He could deplete Ambrosius of his powers and gain control. There would be no running or hiding. He would have a say over his own future and not be weighed down by any bracelets.
Kevin looked past Toby and saw Ambrosius approaching the beach. He remembered his earlier threat about killing Toby on the spot. He couldn't have Toby risk his life by interfering now.
"I don't need you to rescue me, Toby," he said firmly into the other man's eyes before he raced off towards Bro.
Toby turned around and watched Kevin speeding off towards Ambrosius. He scowled and huffed and sharply ran back to the bar. He caught up to Brit and glowered.
"I'm done!" he shouted at her and stormed off.
Adam smiled and nearly laughed his excitement. Then he raced after Toby. "Wait up!"
Brit exhaled tensely as she accepted that she would be tending bar alone for the rest of the night.
"Bro, I am so sorry!" Kevin began as he neared Ambrosius. "I couldn't hear the alarm over the crowd."
Having enough of Kevin's excuses, Ambrosius grabbed him by the arm and spun him to the side. Then he delivered a solid swat to his backside.
"Bro!" he shrieked in disbelief. It hadn't exactly stung through his jeans, but he was shocked that it happened at all. When his head darted around to see just who had seen, Ambrosius shook him again to face him.
"I don't care if I embarrass you in front of your friends because you shouldn't have any friends," he hissed closely in his ear. "I am a fair man and I will offer you a compromise. We can either finish the conversation here on the beach or we can return home and finish it in private."
A glint of defiance returned to Kevin's eye. He had agreed to play by Bro's rules, but he was in no mood after he finally set eyes on Toby. He only said three sentences to him, but that was the longest conversation he had with anyone who wasn't Ambrosius.
"And don't play coy with me," Ambrosius added as his grip around Kevin's arm tightened. "You know exactly when I mean by conversation."
Kevin inhaled a sharp breath to calm himself. His muscles ached to overpower Ambrosius, but the timing wasn't right. Tightly through his teeth, he answered,
"I don't see what the big deal is," Kevin stated firmly as they entered their home "You know where I am at all times."
Bro loosened his hold around Kevin's wrist just enough to run a finger across the bracelet. Even he resented the presence of that precious metal and was eager to finally shuck it, but it seemed that Kevin still needed the extra weight to hold him down.
Kevin watched Ambrosius quietly study the bracelet for far too long. "What?"
"I just thought…" then he shook his head and completely abandoned all hope. He returned to his usual slow and dangerous tone. "I saw you talking to Toby. What did you say to him?"
Kevin sighed agitatedly. He tried to tug his wrist free, but Bro was a fixed statue. He knew it was just a test, since Ambrosius could hear all his conversations through the bracelet. "I said I missed him. Bro, I haven't seen or talked to anyone in six month!"
"What else did you say?"
"I told him I didn't want to be rescued."
"You'd run away if there wasn't anything to keep you here."
Kevin gripped the other's man neck in a reassuring hold and stared intently in his eyes. "Exactly. All I need is you, but it's nice to get out once and awhile."
Ambrosius exhaled sharply. That's exactly what he wanted to hear and Kevin no doubt learned that script well over the past six months. Bro realized that somewhere along the way he had lost control of their relationship.
"I am still your avatar and I expect to be obeyed."
Ambrosius jerked Kevin towards the bed as the blond fervently voiced his objections and tried to pry off the solid fingers locked around his wrist. Ambrosius quickly ripped Kevin's jeans down and had him pinned across his knee. He trapped his wrist behind his back and restrained his flailing legs with his right one.
Ambrosius raised his hand high above his shoulder. A mere second later, his calloused palm slapped soundly on the center of Kevin's unprotected backside. "Shit!" Kevin screeched as the ferocious sting spread too quickly before another swat followed. He tried to swear again, but more swats silenced his cries.
"After tonight, you will obey me," Ambrosius hissed between rapid swats. "You will learn to take my warnings seriously. We are destined to be together, with or without the bracelet. One day, you'll see that."
Kevin gasped as the tenth strike scorched his other cheek. The harsh spanking seared his skin, but he was more surprised at Ambrosius's words. Was that really an option? Kevin lived with Bro long enough to read between the lines. Bro had his evil, immortal, warlock ego to protect and usually hid behind words such as destiny, but Kevin had learned to translate his ambiguous language. Would Bro have actually removed his bracelet? Kevin knew Bro resented the bracelet just as much as he did. He wanted Kevin to choose to be with him willingly. Kevin had been using trust as manipulation. He didn't realize that he actually earned it, then he was horribly embarrassed that he wanted to. That was something he never achieved with Toby. It was actually frightening to admit that this was the first relationship that he successfully gained trust from someone.
Kevin instantly understood the mortifying position Ambrosius trapped him in. His body tensed then flinched with every stinging slap, but he couldn't thrust a hand back to shield his backside or kick his legs to ease the pain. He had to feel Bro's displeasure as it ripped through his body. Kevin knew Bro was using all the strength he had to keep him pinned and administer this punishment. Bro was weak, but he managed to summon up enough strength to ensure that Kevin was his. Just as he always would.
Kevin realized that while he was held in this position, he wouldn't be able to use magic. He was trapped immobile and had no choice but to give up control until the punishment was over. He jumped for each scalding strike, trying to twist his legs free from Ambrosius's. He had thought that magic was all he needed, but Bro could still make him feel helpless. Make him feel guilty.
Bro's hand was clamped tightly over Kevin's bracelet to keep the blond's arm tight against his back. Kevin felt the metal press into his skin, just another reminder of how much influence Bro still had over him, regardless of any magic he managed to accumulate. As the heat in his backside sizzled and stung, Kevin continued his frantic efforts to pull from the weight of Bro's body. For a second, he thought he could feel Ambrosius lose his hold.
"Keep still," Ambrosius warned as he landed a powerful strike to his sensitive sit spot. "Something's blocking my power and I don't have the energy to put up with your thrashing."
Now that Ambrosius was hitting lower, he caught the tops of Kevin's thighs. The overlapping heat intensified the searing pain of the previous blows, but it was only after Bro referred to the transference that Kevin finally let out a sob. It wasn't something that was blocking Bro's power. It was someone. Kevin had the initial urge to fight against his captor, but now that he viewed Ambroisus as something else – something very close to soul mate – the struggle to fight him was much harder. He couldn't hurt Bro without hurting himself.
As if that single sob was a signal to Ambrosius, he immediately stopped the spanking. The exposed skin of Kevin's backside felt singed, but the blond knew it wasn't as severe as it could have been. If this was the searing pain from a depleted warlock, Kevin hated to think what he actually deserved. And he couldn't even say he felt lucky to escape a harsher punishment because it pained him to betray Bro. Ambrosius was drained and neither Diana nor the Tresum Council was to blame for his ailment.
Still bent in that horrible position over Bro's knee, Kevin felt the heat crawl up his neck and quickly redden his face. He had intentionally ignored Bro's warnings and the alarm of the watch. He was mortified to be punished for something so trivial, but he realized that he acted out in order to unsheathe himself of his own guilty conscience. A small part of him wished Ambroisus would learn of his plans to escape so that he could stop him. He couldn't feel guilty for choosing Bro if it were out of his control.
"Don't ssssstop," Kevin insisted through his sobs. He knew Ambrosius wouldn't understand. He thought he was punishing him for something else entirely, but Kevin knew his deceit ran deeper than disobeying orders from his avatar.
"You are the aspirant," Bro reminded swiftly. "You do not give orders. Only I say when this punishment is over and it is over."
Ambrosius shifted his hold from Kevin and gathered him up by his heaving shoulders. He pulled him upright onto his lap and Kevin couldn't help but gasp as his chastised flesh pressed against Bro's thigh. Kevin pulled his hands behind himself and immediately tried to soothe the throbbing heat on his backside. His head collapsed against Bro's neck as he continued to cry.
"I'm sssorry," he mumbled softly into his neck. "I'm s-so, sooo ssssorry…"
Ambrosius wrapped an arm around the blond's forehead and held him close as he gently kissed his hair. "I forgive you," he said, knowing he could always forgive Kevin as long as he was in his arms.
While Kevin continued that soft chant of apologies, Ambrosius could tell that Kevin's remorse went beyond disobeying orders. So he simply brushed back his sweaty hair and asked, "What are you sorry for?"
Kevin tore his hands away from rubbing his backside and immediately drew himself completely into Bro's embrace, wrapping his arms around his neck and crying softly against his cheek, "I'm not s-sssuppose… to l-love you…"
Now Ambrosius was the one breathing uneasily. Since Kevin's defenses were down, that was probably the first honest thing he had said to him in months. So Ambrosius held him tight and corrected him softly, "No, Kevin. That's precisely what you're supposed to do."
Kevin pulled back and looked intently into Bro's eyes. "And I do." Then he thought about the betrayal he couldn't confess to him and he added quietly, "…that's why I'm s-so sssorry."
"You never have to apologize for that."
Kevin knew Bro would never forgive him for what he was about to do, so he simply rested his head back down against Bro's shoulder. Bro held him for a moment as his body trembled, not realizing that it was the blond who was slowly siphoning his powers.
"The worst is over," Bro said lightly as he laid Kevin down onto the bed. "But I've decided to instate a nine o'clock bedtime for now."
Kevin nodded slightly then he held his breath as Ambrosius slipped beside him beneath the sheets. He hated himself for seeing the upside in that sentence.
"You're… going to bed, too?" he asked hopefully.
"I could use the extra hours of sleep," Bro moaned. "I've been exhausted lately."
Kevin realized that the bedtime was more for Ambrosius's benefit than it was for his own punishment, so he sobbed and cuddled close against Ambrosius's back. He could feel Bro's muscles still firm and hefty, but the strength was gone. Kevin had stolen his energy and strength and he had to live with that guilt alone.
"I'm so sorry," he whispered against his ear.
Ambrosius patted his hand. "I know you are. Let's get some sleep. You'll feel better in the morning."
Even as Kevin huddled close behind Ambrosius, he saw the other man as a lavish well of untapped energy. "I can't stop myself."
Ambrosius sighed. He fully intended the spanking to leave Kevin feeling submissive and clingy, but the emotional outpouring was an unexpected drain for the boy. He rolled over and nestled against Kevin. "I'll hold you until you feel better," he offered as he tangled his arms around him.
Kevin clung to him tightly, wondering which embrace would be their last. He started draining Bro's power for Toby, but as his feeling grew for Ambrosius, Kevin wondered if he could continue it. Unfortunately, he made it past the point of turning back. He'd have no choice but to see it through and he would never give up that rush of energy that coursed through his body every time he tapped into Bro's power.
"I don't want to leave you." But he had to.
"I'm not letting you out of my sight," Bro promised as he kissed his head.
Kevin shuddered one last time and finally decided to absorb Bro's comfort instead of his energy. At least, just for one night. He felt guilty for taking pleasure in causing Bro pain. Felt guilty that he fell in love with his captor. He'd just have to accept that they had a symbiotic relationship of abuse and betrayal. And perhaps, over time, he would grow accustomed to the duplicity of his own actions just as Bro did with his.
Kevin rested on his stomach on top of Bro's chest. He felt the other man's arms grow limp around him and eventually fall back onto the mattress. Kevin was exhausted, but the persistent ache in his backside prevented him from sleeping soundly. He rubbed at the sting with one hand and nudged Bro with his shoulder.
"Bro…?" Kevin called out quietly, but he didn't answer. "Bro?"
Now that Ambrosius was in a deep sleep, Kevin knew he couldn't go a single night without a taste of magic. He hated his lack of self-control, but he slipped out from beneath the sheets and pulled on his discarded briefs. He headed over to the foot of the bed and retrieved the magic book from the chest.
He opened to the page he nearly memorized by heart and held his hand over Ambrosius's sleeping form. He began his chant and with short, jerky breaths, he ended with, "…and f-flow his p-power unto me."
Nothing happened. Kevin took a deep breath and closed his eyes. More firmly he repeated, "…and flow his power unto me!"
Ambrosius's body stiffened then shook and a tiny zap of energy flowed through Kevin. His body yearned to guzzle down the magic, but this was all he could expect from being emotionally drained. He couldn't say the spell correctly though his shaky breaths. It was a small high, but at least he regained some feeling of control that night. Kevin closed the book and placed it snugly in the trunk. He crawled back into the bed and hugged Bro from behind.
Ambrosius moaned as he felt the tender embrace. "Disobeying orders so soon?" he muttered, still half asleep.
"I just wanted a glass of water," Kevin answered softly. "I am really sorry. About everything."
"It's still dark out. Go back to sleep."
Ambrosius slung an arm around Kevin and the blond cuddled against him, feeling even more guilty that he was allowing the man to comfort him. He stole his strength and shouldn't let Bro use the last of it to hold him tightly in a soothing embrace. Pulling him snug and warm against him, Kevin continued to cry.
"Hush," Ambrosius ordered lightly. "I said we'll start afresh tomorrow. You have no more reason to feel guilty."
It was a nice thought, but Kevin knew that a simple spanking would never wipe the slate clean. The heavy burden of his deceit weighed him down more than the bracelet ever could.
"You love me, too?" Kevin asked as he shifted position to hold Bro against his chest. "Right?"
"I love you, Kevin. Now go to sleep. I'll continue to tell you how much I love you in the morning."
Kevin smiled briefly, knowing full well that Bro couldn't go a single second without proclaiming his love. It helped to hear it as much as it pained him.
"I'm sorry," Kevin sighed again. He immediately realized that his incessant apologizes would raise suspicion, so he quickly amended, "I'm sorry for waking you."
"It's alright," he mumbled quietly. "As long as you're still here."
Kevin shook his head, but decided to remain quiet so Bro could get his rest. It wouldn't help any, since there was no way to replenish the power he lost. But for tonight, Kevin would give him the support he needed by cradling him tight against his chest and whispering all the embarrassingly sweet sentiments he never thought he would against his ear.
Once his captor and now his soul mate. It was a confusing surge of emotions. His mortal brain couldn't handle the choice between Toby and Ambrosius. Was Toby really the instrument that brought Kevin to Ambrosius? Or was Ambrosius a test to Toby and Kevin's relationship? Fortunately, with Tresum on his side, he would gain greater knowledge and life would be simpler…