AN: Last chapter. D:

Chapter 10

Allen was awakened by Darcayah the following morning, half-lidded eyes opening tiredly as the body beside him shifted and arms tightened affectionately around him.

He smiled, raised his hands to run through Darcayah's hair, pulling him close for a kiss that was eagerly returned.

It was strange, waking without the faintest trace of regret in his mind. It was like tasting freedom after a lifetime of imprisonment. The binds constricting on his soul had simply vanished like vapor in the night, and what a night it had been.

Allen winced slightly as he moved his legs to tangle in Darcayah's own only to pull away somewhat embarrassedly. Ah, now there was something to be regretful about. They'd been so exhausted last night that they'd failed to clean up afterwards…

Allen was now uncomfortably feeling the evidence of what they'd done between his legs, shifting awkwardly as Darcayah looked on, the barest hint of a smile on his face.

"It's not funny…" Allen complained before being bombarded with another kiss that quickly made his mind go dizzy as Darcayah's hands roamed to places that had him blushing for completely different reasons.

He was swiftly rolled onto his back, Darcayah settling comfortably between Allen's legs before the door abruptly opened.

The two lovers pulled apart as Jesse stepped into the room, arms full with the linens Darcayah had lent her and Bert the previous night, neatly folded and stalked one on top of the other.

Her jaw immediately dropped before opening and closing several times as the color quickly drained from her face and her eyes went wide with shock. "Oh, Goddess below and Gods above!" she bellowed, one hand slapping over her mouth before the linens in her arms went tumbling to the floor. "I'm sorry, so, so sorry!" she repeated while Allen went red in Darcayah's arms.

Darcayah, on the other hand, merely looked vaguely annoyed by the loud interruption.

It didn't take long for Bert to wander into the doorframe, eyebrow raised as he peered in curiously, wondering what all the commotion was about.

His face instantly flushed as he slapped a hand over Jesse's eyes and shoved her out of the room, loudly shutting the door behind them.

Allen and Darcayah distinctly heard him hiss, "Have you no sense of privacy, woman?" before all fell blessedly silent once more.

Darcayah sighed, turning over onto his back. "I suppose you'll be leaving soon." He mused, pulling Allen close when he crawled towards him. He pressed his cheek to Allen's curling hair before and inhaled deeply, breathing in the scent of him with closed eyes, memorizing the fragrance. Already he missed Allen's presence, the security he offered, the love he'd given so freely and without remorse. "You're mine, aren't you?"

"Always." Allen replied, rubbing a hand reassuringly up and down Darcayah's side before pausing. "You could come with me." he suggested, moving to prop himself up on his arms so that he could properly gaze down at Darcayah. "Come with me, to Valwick."

Allen immediately felt Darcayah's body tense, saw his eyes fill with uncertainty. Slowly he shifted until he was straddling Darcayah's waist, a motion that made them both blush as Allen collected Darcayah's hands in his own and pulled them towards his lips, kissing them both before hugging them to his chest. "Come with me, please?"

"What if…" Darcayah began quietly before Allen cut him off, pressing a kiss to the corner of his mouth.

"It'll be alright." Allen reassured, giving Darcayah's hands a gentle squeeze. "And if it does become too much, just say the word, and we'll return here together. I'm yours, Darcayah." he insisted, smiling calmly. "My home is with you."

Darcayah gently pulled away one of his hands, moving it to stroke through Allen's hair before settling on a pale cheek. "I'll be alright so long as you are there."

"You know I won't leave you alone." Allen laughed somewhat bitterly. "Anyone with eyes would…" he forced himself to stop, looking grimly down at his hands which now lay limply in his lap.

With a yelp his world turned upside down.

He was on his back in seconds with Darcayah on top, kissing him fervently. Allen could hardly refute him as he eagerly responded, surrendering to the kiss immediately.

"It doesn't matter what they see," Darcayah replied somewhat breathlessly against Allen's lips when they finally pulled apart, "because all I see is you."

Allen smiled warmly, pulling Darcayah down for another kiss that was quickly interrupted as the bedroom door once again slammed open.

"Oh fuck!" Bert hissed, shielding his eyes with his free hand while the other was still poised on the doorknob. "Shit, I get that you two are still honeymooning—or whatever—but fuck, you're not even in your trousers yet? get a move on, we're wasting daylight!" he hollered before disappearing behind the door once more.

Allen was positive he could here Jesse laughing hysterically from somewhere in the background, and Bert adamantly telling her to shut up.

The two looked at each other before breaking out into matching grins. "Well, guess I should get you cleaned up then…" Darcayah murmured, eyes darkening suggestively.

Allen blushed, and truly hoped that cleaning was all Darcayah had in mind. He didn't think he'd be able to survive yet another humiliating of yet another disruption.

"So, you and the golem, huh?" Jesse asked out of the blue, grinning impishly. Allen suddenly got the impression that she'd somehow convinced Bert to distract Darcayah. The two were engaged in a very stiff conversation a good twelve feet behind them.

"Yes…" Allen replied somewhat hesitantly, wanting Jesse's approval, but not really needing it the way he would have in the past.

Jesse was silent for a moment, before murmuring, "I'm happy for you."

The hollow tone of Jesse's voice momentarily caught Allen off guard. However, when he turned to look at her, he immediately recognized that her expression was sincere. "Thank you."

"Just don't disappear from us again?" she asked quietly, grin dropping the slightest bit. "I don't—when you left without saying a word, I didn't know what to do. I mean, I know Valwick… hasn't really been much of a home to you for years now, but I just thought…" she trailed off, wavering the slightest bit, "Don't let them drive you away?"

Allen sighed, and dropped a friendly arm across Jesse's shoulders. "No one drove me away, Jess. I just… found something that I wanted, that I was willing to work for, and now that I have it, I just… never want to give it up."

"So you'll still come see us?" Jesse asked hopefully, pinning Allen with a stare that demanded the truth. Allen winced and obliged.

"I don't know, it depends on Darcayah."

"He wouldn't ban you from seeing us!" Jesse defended quickly, and Allen found it endlessly amusing that she was now steadfastly supporting someone of whom she'd previously been most suspicious.

"No, he wouldn't," Allen agreed, "he's too… kind to me, but every time I leave he will worry about whether or not I'd be returning. He… loves me, Jesse." he confessed, blushing at the feelings that stirred inside of him at the mere mention of the word, "and I love him. I don't want to give him reason to doubt that he'll always have me."

"Then take him with you!" his friend suggested, to which Allen winced.

"This trip alone is going to be difficult for him."

"Boys…" Jesse grumbled, rolling her eyes. "You're always making complications for yourselves."

Allen laughed and removed his arm. "That may be why her Excellency rules Tantalus and not her husband."

"Obviously." Jesse replied, flicking a few loose strands of blonde hair over her shoulder. "Put a man on the throne and he'll only blunder his way through his rule… oh, we're here." She trailed off unexpectedly, hurrying through the bush and out into the open air. "Finally!" she explained, holding out her arms wide, inhaling deeply. "I am so glad to be out of there!"

Allen immediately looked for Darcayah, who was once again hiding in the shadows of the forest's overhang, eyeing the open field apprehensively.

Allen briskly moved to his side, grabbing hold of Darcayah's hand and entwining their fingers, suddenly remembering in great detail that Darcayah had once done the very same for him, back when he had been the one questioning his place. "Don't let go of my hand."

Darcayah nodded, and when Allen moved to pull him from the forest's clutches, he came willingly.

"Allen Tweed, you shameless good for nothing!" His mother yelled while Darcayah stood by with a lost expression on his face, eyes wide with alarm as he tightened his hold on Allen's hand. "Disappearing into thin air like that—have you no concern for your mother's heart?" she continued to berate him, black hair falling free from the bun it had been tied back in. "I thought you'd been eaten by the fae! Nearly worried myself to death before I heard that you were safe and sound, gallivanting around those woods with the Valkyrie, and you come back now looking like this," she accused, pointing a repulsed finger at his casual clothes, "with a man you claim to love—oh, goodness me!" she paused, eyeing Darcayah owlishly, "I'm sorry dear, can I offer you a cup of tea?"

"I'm… fine." Darcayah replied hesitantly, backing up the slightest bit. "Thank you."

That answer seemed to suit Mrs. Tweed just fine, for she immediately returned to hollering at her son. "As for you, have you no sense? Minutes until the wedding and you come in here dressed like that?"

"How could I come prepared for something like that?" Allen shot back quietly, eyeing Jesse accusingly. The girl only smiled before continuing to twirl in her white wedding gown. "She told me that Father was sick, not that she was getting married."

"Well that's no excuse to be standing around with your hands on your arse now, is it?" Mrs. Tweed emphasized, pushing her son towards the stairs. "Go on, get dressed, and look presentable! You already look fine, dear." she said, winking at Darcayah, whose eyes uncomfortably slid to Allen for a brief moment before returning to his lover's mother. "Help him out, will you?"

The two met Allen's father as he came down the stairs, arms full with five collapsible wooden chairs, looking notably fit and healthy. He gave his son a toothy grin paired with a sympathetic look, no doubt meant for the scolding Allen had just received from his crazy mother.

Jesse had painted her up as being timid, quiet soul, but that imagery was only true for strangers. For her own son and husband she was a right drill sergeant of the finest quality.

"Are you alright?" he asked Darcayah when they were at last alone in his room, tugging the shell-shocked man close.

"Fine, just—fine." Darcayah replied, quietly before that thoughtful shine took hold of his green eyes once again. "I think I'm beginning to understand... my place a little better." he trailed off, drawing closer still before placing a light kiss across Allen's lips. "This is all far more… fascinating than I would have imagined."

"But that's a good thing, right?" Allen asked, smiling warmly. It was a smile that Darcayah returned without hesitation.

"Very good. I think…"

"You think what?" Allen supplied when Darcayah abruptly stopped, but the man only shook his head, thought seemingly lost for now.

The wedding proceedings took place outside in the open air amidst green grass and flowers.

Allen was both surprised and pleased to see Jesse walk down the aisle with an unfamiliar bouquet of common, but pretty wildflowers. Apparently, Bert did not wish to get married on false terms, or perhaps he just did not wish to propose with a bouquet of flowers Allen had collected.

Accidently he locked eyes with the groom, and Bert glared at him from where he stood fancied up beneath a tall, wooden archway, decorated with clear white lilies, as if daring him to make a scene. Allen simply smiled and returned his gaze to Jesse, who looked even more beautiful now, with her transparent veil and white pearl jewelry, than she had in the dress alone.

Vows and rings were eagerly exchanged, and the guests broke out in cheers and celebration as the two finally sealed the arrangement with a kiss.

Despite the happy atmosphere, Allen couldn't help but worrying over Darcayah, whose elegant, foreign appearance was being discussed as fervently as the bride and groom come dinner.

"Where did you say you're from?" farmer Tan questioned rudely while a handful of other guests listening in keenly from behind him.

"The forest." Darcayah replied vaguely in the most bored tone he could muster before taking a long sip from his mug of ale, which Allen's father had insisted he would enjoy.

Allen stayed by his side, eyes darting worriedly between the boorish farmer and his lover, waiting for things to turn sour.

"The forest?" farmer Tan replied, obviously displeased with Darcayah's lack of interest and respect. "What are you then, the bastard son of one of em' Valkyries? What, did they see the piece between your legs and cast you out? Couldn't stand the lone man in their mists? Serves you and them right, isolating yourselves from normal society."

Darcayah's eyes darkened and narrowed so subtly at the farmer's words, that Allen doubted anyone but he had noticed. It was with icy calm that his lover casually replied, "Your pant leg appears to be on fire."

After much screaming and shouting (and laughing, on the part of some guests), a bucket of water was at last drawn from the old well. The fire that has been slowly climbing farmer Tan's pant leg was at last doused.

Allen flushed, embarrassed, pleased, and mortified by Darcayah's… creativity when it came to avoiding certain topics of conversation. Unfortunately, now people were discussing Darcayah for completely different reasons, and Allen was quickly swept up in the gossip as well.

Allen had secured himself a beautiful man, a gifted, mysterious mage. How did this happen? Why Allen? How long were they going to last?

The whispers continued on into the night, spreading so far even the dancers were sending Allen and Darcayah curious glances. No one, however, was brave enough to step forward and inquire directly until Allen's mother appeared before them with a sly grin tugging at the corners of her lips.

"A young mage, huh?" she asked pointblank, and neither Allen nor Darcayah thought it necessary to point out that he was actually much, much older than he appeared to be. "Well, I'm happy for you, Allen." she continued when both of them remained silent. "I couldn't stand it when you were afraid of magic—afraid of yourself." she corrected, wrapping her son in a tight hug. "It hurts a mother's heart to see her son living his life from underneath the safety of his bedcovers."

"Thanks, mum." Allen replied awkwardly, rather at a loss for what else he could say.

Mrs. Tweed soon released him, turning now to Darcayah with an expression that was a mixture of amusement and seriousness. "You're going to take my son far away from me, aren't you?" Darcayah looked momentarily stunned. He made to speak, but was quickly silenced by a raised hand that urged him to impede whatever it was he was about to say. "It's every mother's dream to see their children eventually turned over to someone else. Take care of my son, will you dear?" she requested placidly before sending them both a wave and wandering off towards her husband, who she soon grabbed by the hands before dragging out onto the dance floor.

Allen wanted to ask Darcayah what his mother had meant, but before he could so much as open his mouth they were surrounded by new, curious faces.

They answered their meddlesome questions as best they could, and were soon saved by the bride, who grabbed Allen by the wrist before forcefully dragging him towards the couples rotating around the dance floor. Allen, unwilling to let go of Darcayah's own hand, in turn pulled his lover along until the three were spinning in a wild circle amidst the other dancers.

"So, what say you, boys?" she asked, laughing jovially. "Enjoying my wedding?"

"Greatly." Allen replied enthusiastically, smiling when Darcayah nodded in agreement. It was nice to see that between setting farmer Tan on fire and being hounded by prying questions he'd found time to enjoy the party.

"Excellent." Jesse replied before shoving Allen to the side and pulling Darcayah close, effectively freeing him from the circle. "My husband would like to speak with you. Alone." she said while Darcayah looked on with confusion. "I'll take care of your lover here, now go on, and play nice!" she said before the two were whisked away.

Allen hesitated, worried for Darcayah, but his golem soon found his gaze and smiled reassuringly. He'd be alright for the time being.

He found Bert atop a small hill, and was surprised to find that he wasn't alone. "Hello… Emily." He murmured shyly by way of greeting.

The brown haired girl smiled, and offered a small wave, unintentionally flaunting burn scars that she'd probably forgotten. Allen, however, remembered them vividly.

Immediately he knew what was going on. Bert was giving him a chance here. A chance to undo some of the damage he had inflicted so many years ago.

"I'm so, so sorry, Emily, I never meant—"

"It's okay." The girl interrupted quietly, blushing slightly. "I mean, I was scared for a bit—fire will do that—but then, I never thought you'd done it on purpose, and accident, yah? But then Da' got all protective and wouldn't let me near you, so…" she trailed off, sounding quite annoyed.

"I'm sorry." Allen repeated, meaning it.

"It's alright." Emily reassured him, gently placing a hand on Allen's arm. "I'm going back to the party." she informed them, smiling warmly. "Enjoy yourself, Allen."

She then turned to her brother, nodded once, and left them alone on the hill.

"Why?" Allen asked as soon as Emily was gone, pinning Bert with a glare. "Why now? You wouldn't—you were just like your father. I can't remember how many times I asked you to let me see her—"

"How could I?" Bert replied stiffly, glaring straight back. "You hurt her, Allen, my little sister! Your magic was volatile! Who knew who you would have hurt next, me or Jesse, or someone else?"

"It was an accident!"

"And was I supposed to just sit back and let another one of your accidents happen to Jesse?" Bert shot back, and Allen rolled his eyes.

"Well, rest assured that she is clearly alive and well, despite being the only one of my former friends to stand by me all these years." he replied coolly, to which Bert momentarily stiffened. "You, on the other hand, you turned on me. Bullied me, tried to take the only friend I had who didn't think I was useless or dangerous away from me."

"Didn't take you long to replace her, did it?"

Allen answered the statement with a laugh. "You should know better than most that no one can replace Jesse, you're married to her now, after all, but I love Darcayah."

"No one can fall in love in such a short period of time."

"Bert, you've been in love with Jesse since you first met, when you were four." Allen reminded him, grinning wryly. "Besides, I don't see what concern it is of yours."

"I do care!" Bert admitted brashly, averting his eyes to the ground.

"Well then, would you care to explain to me why you sought to bloody my face at every given opportunity?" Allen asked, to which Bert winced embarrassedly.

"Better me than Tristan." he replied, reminding Allen of the rock he'd taken to the head, an injury that had nearly gotten him killed twice.

"Well, Tristan wouldn't have been after me in the first place if it wasn't for you."

"Look, I'm sorry, alright?" Bert said at last, clearly aggravated. "I was stupid, and jealous, and afraid, is that what you want to hear?"

"I don't want to hear anything." Allen replied, carding a hand through his hair. "I don't… why are you saying all this, Bert? Clearly we can't forgive each other."

"And that's my fault too." Bert acknowledged with difficulty, folding his arms across his chest. "But… you are Jesse's friend, a good friend. I don't… want to be at odds."

"So you're looking for a truce?" Allen asked, sighing tiredly. "Fine."

"Fine." Bert agreed, and the two shook on it.

"Welcome back!" Jesse exclaimed when the they returned, embracing Bert before delivering a quick kiss to his lips. "Now, I believe my husband owes me a dance?" she asked, waggling her eyebrows mischievously. Bert grinned, looking a great deal happier than he had when he'd been alone with Allen, before whisking her off onto the dance floor.

Allen watched them for a moment, thinking that they really did look good together. Bert's dark brown hair and tanned skin complimented Jesse's fair features beautifully. The two were the perfect couple.

Darcayah softly placed a hand on his shoulder, expression suggesting that he wanted a private word.

Allen nodded and allowed himself to be led away to a place where prying ears wouldn't be able to listen in.

It was dark now, and dimly lit stars filled the sky above them, putting on a fine show, perfect for a night of food and dance.

"What is it?" Allen asked quietly, hoping that no one else had offended his lover tonight.

"I've come to a decision." Darcayah replied resolutely, eyes locked on Allen's own. "I want to live amongst others." He admitted quietly. Allen's expression brightened.

"That's great." he replied, but his expression immediately fell when Darcayah shook his head.

"No, you don't understand." he continued, placing his hands on Allen's shoulders. "What I need now is… I need to be with my own, Allen." he elaborated, grasping Allen's chin between his thumb and forefinger when his confession was met with confusion. "I want to go to Eguar, and I want you to come with me."

Allen's eyes widened and he forced himself not to take a step back, knowing that Darcayah's mind would probably jump to negative conclusions if he did so.

The Empire of Eguar rested at the very top of the Black Mountains, and the road there was dangerous, if not expensive. One had to travel to the very border of Tantalus, across the Nash Desert, and uphill through thick trees and bush, on a path rife with dark fa, in order to so much as see Eguar's border, let alone its capital.

Hiring a Dimension Witch to shorten the distance would lessen the danger, but was expensive, and would not get them all the way to Eshpra. The farthest they'd be able to travel by magic was an old temple run by a faction of Eguardian warrior monks. From there, they'd need to hire a guide to take them the rest of the way…

"How, Darcayah?" he asked, shaking his head free of Darcayah's grasp. "I don't have the savings to get us there, let alone afford a home, food…"

"We'll petition the Royal Family." Darcayah replied. "The Valkyrie will have to appeal for a new forest guardian to replace me. I'll ask them to put in a good word for all my years of service."

"But why not here?" Allen asked, mind still hazed with confusion.

"I need closure, Allen. Closure that only my kind can properly give me. I need to hear what I am—what we, as a people, are from them, or else… or else there will always be doubt in my mind. Please, Allen," Darcayah pleaded, pulling him close. "I need you with me on this. I cannot… do this alone."

Allen looked up into Darcayah's eyes, brushed a hand through his thick black hair, untidy now, no doubt from dancing with Jesse. He stayed like that for a moment, simply remembering that the man in front of him had been his world since their very first meeting, that he would do anything for him, because by Darcayah's side was where he was happiest.

"I'd follow you to the end of Lorien and back if you asked it of me." Allen replied at last before Darcayah leaned forward and kissed him deeply.


I hope you all enjoyed. :) I know its a really, really short story... but that's sort of what I wanted: a small project that I'd actually be able to finish, and here it is! :D If you have any questions regarding the story, please feel free to drop me a line. PM's are fine with me, and I also read the reviews, which I'll be responding to in my end notes... or something... maybe in the epilogue (if I ever get around to itbut since I can't promise that, consider this the end for now.

Till next time! 3