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Salt Upon Our Cheeks

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The Library's air was thick with musk, walls decorated and adorned with hundreds of dusted novels and tattered papers. It was a heavy darkness that settled upon the room, but a comfortable one nonetheless. While the youngest of the princes thought the grand room to be of the most glum in the castle and therefore most distasteful, Pallis found an air of peace in the quiet sanctuary.

He thumbed through an etiquette book at his designated desk in a corner of the room's expanse, although he had already read the same page over twice without registering the words properly. Pallis worried at his bottom lip expressionless, failing his attempts to ignore the body looming behind him. It was hard not to notice him in this proximity, even if he'd ordered more than once to never stray close. He would tire eventually.

"Adakias." Pallis bit out his brother's name like venom on his tongue without turning. His attempts to rid of him would be in vain otherwise.

"Brother... Please don't do this. It's been too long since I've seen you smile. Why do you fight me?" His brother's soft pleading voice resonated sweetly from just inches behind. Pallis tensed visibly, gripping the book so tightly it may have torn. His breathing stopped completely when the familiar alabaster hand rested upon his shoulder.

Pallis turned sharply with a snap of his book, prepared to hiss some strangling defense under his brothers quivering gaze. His breath caught and his eyes softened when Adakais' warming hands rested upon his cheeks and lifted his jaw skyward.

"Nobody understood me until your eyes fixed upon me. My puzzle life's complete now that I found my missing piece."

Adakais sang quietly, his voice drifting gently like the sweetest lullaby to Pallis' ears. His throat felt constricted, as if he might weep into his brother's touch. Adakias brushed a stray tear from his brother's cheek with his thumb, a sad smile gracing his lips. Pallis released a held shuttering breath.

"Brother, I cannot stand to see you suffer so, but you know this is not right. We are by blood, and I am to be king." Pallis choked out half-heartedly, leaning into his brother's touch despite his own words.

"But we are destined, Pallis." Adakias rubbed circles over the ink marred skin below his brother's right eye that matched his own upon his left. Their soul-marks. "Isn't that reason enough?" He leaned down and pressed his lips to the mark that was bore for public eye. Pallis closed his lids at the touch of his brother's soft lips.

"Adakias... My brother, my soulmate... You melt my resolve and yet I feel I have no hand in why we should not be together no matter what I wish." Pallis spoke so close to Adakias lips, yet just out of reach. He allowed his gaze to fall upon his brother's opposing mark.

"We're alone, Brother, father can't stop us any longer no matter how much he wanted to." Adakias raised back somewhat.

"But we..."

"Dream with your eyes closed."

He hushed his brother a slow chaste kiss upon the lips. Tears prickled Pallis' vision. He truly would follow his brother to the ends of the earth despite what he wished himself to believe. With the king gone and the coronation looming in the months to pass, the brothers knew of what their fates had to offer.

The salt upon their cheeks mingled as they kissed for the last time as it were their first.