The sun was low in the sky, the pinks and yellows blending into the navy blues as the stars began to appear. The night was calm, quiet, peaceful; no wolves roamed and all seemed perfect. The night was a time for quiet, for relaxation. A lanky man stood just outside the stables, his midnight dark hair tied back with a thin strip of leather. His eyes were the same shade as the navy sky, though they reflected none of the peaceful quiet that had settled over the area.

He could hear the horses nickering quietly behind them, smell the sweet stable air. All of them were there, save for one. The one he was waiting for. He'd be in best, resting with the sun, as he usually was. He rose with the sun as well; royalty didn't take kindly to their mounts not being ready when they wanted to go wherever it was they always seemed to want to go in the mornings. They never wanted to bed their mounts down for the night, either. He assumed the man he was waiting for was much the same, if indeed he could be called a man.

The dark-haired stable hand was a year older than the other, which, in his mind, made the other younger. He didn't see much of the man; he tended to stay indoors, doing whatever it was his father wished.

"Stable boy!"

Head turning at the call, the dark-haired man frowned. "I have a name," he responded irritably, only realizing after he spoke that the one to whom he had spoken was the very man he'd been waiting for. The dark hid the slight flush that came over his cheeks; speaking like that to his employer's son would more than likely get him fired.

"I don't know it," the blonde man answered, slowing the horse he was on to a stop. "So enlighten me. What is your name?"

"Dareynn, sir. And yours is Carter. You're—"

"I know who I am," the man answered as he swung down from the stirrups, though he seemed more embarrassed about his origins than angry at Dareynn's tone. He stumbled as his feet hit the ground, nearly losing his balance until the dark-haired stable hand stepped forward and steadied him. "Thank you. Were you waiting for me?"

"It's my job." Dareynn stepped back, suddenly very aware of his companion. "I care for the horses."

"I can care for my mount," the man insisted, the reins still in his hands as he headed into the stable. "I'm not incompetent."

"I never said that," Dareynn snapped, following. He was going to get himself in trouble, talking like this. "How many times have you ridden in the past year? A hand's worth? Maybe? This is my job. I do it every day. You, on the other hand, sit in some room all day reading scrolls or writing or reading, or you go to parties your father hosts. You don't have to work to live. Just let me do my job." Scowling as the other stopped and turned, the lighter blue eyes angry. Great. Now he'd done it. He'd be fired and starving in the streets in days.

"Just because I don't ride often doesn't mean I can't care for my horse." As if he was determined to prove a point, he led the horse to a large stall about midway down, the area lit by the lamps Dareynn had yet to blow out. "It isn't hard."

Dareynn sighed and leaned back against the adjacent stall, a frown creasing his forehead as he forced himself to just stay where he was. It wasn't like Carter was trying to care for a temperamental horse; the bay had a gentle nature and had never kicked anybody. At least the stupid guy wouldn't get himself kicked. There was an almost admirable way that the blonde went about it, though; he was actually trying to care for the horse, at least. Even if he was doing horrible.

Navy eyes rolled toward the roof as Carter picked up a comb and began to brush down the horse. "You're doing it wrong," Dareynn couldn't help but comment, pushing himself to stand upright and walk over to the other man. "Just go, so I can get to bed sooner." The sooner the other man was gone, the sooner he'd stop feeling weird.

"So show me how to do it right, then." The comb was shoved into the Dareynn's hands, the blonde waving his hand in an over-exaggerated gesture for him to continue.

Seeing no other choice, Dareynn entered the stall and patted the bay's neck before slowly brushing her down. He forced himself to forget that Carter was there, simply focusing on taking care of the mare. He'd all but forgotten that the man was there until a hand landed on his. Dareynn jumped, the brush falling from his fingers to thud on the ground.

The blonde had pulled his hand back, a slightly shocked look on his face. "Sorry," he said, bending to pick up the brush. Instead of giving it back he kept a hold of it. "I can brush her."

Dareynn moved back as the other moved forward, closer to the horse. He noticed the odd look the other gave him. Dareynn wasn't exactly acting normal; of course he'd get a weird look. Why had he jumped when Carter touched him? What did it matter? It didn't, really. But he couldn't shove aside the thought that having Carter touch him—even if it was just his hand—wasn't that bad. "You're doing it wrong," he said when he couldn't stand it anymore. He stepped forward, putting his hand over the other's and pulling his arm through the motion of brushing the horse correctly, a blush slowly creeping on his cheeks.

"Do I scare you?"

"Don't make me laugh," Dareynn grumbled, the blush only deepening. Scare? Far from. "You're full of yourself."

"You keep looking at me."

Was he? He hadn't entirely noticed that he kept glancing at the Carter from the corner of his eye, watching him to see what he was doing. He didn't really have an answer for the other man.

"Do you not like me, then? Is that it?"

"You're fine." He barely knew Carter. He knew of him, granted—he'd heard various people passing in and out of the stables discussing the man—but he'd only met him personally a few times.

"What, then? I can't be much of a threat, can I?"

Dareynn frowned, his hand slowly lowering to his side. He didn't know what to think. The other was so close to him, their shoulders nearly touching. Hands lifting again, Dareynn felt his fingers clench in Carter's shirt, tugging the boy closer. What was he doing? As their lips met Dareynn felt the brush bounce on the ground next to his foot. He pulled away from the other, his hands shaking as his eyes widened. He didn't just do that. He couldn't have.

Carter looked about as shocked as Dareynn felt; at least he wasn't pissed. Yet. Not wanting to stick around to see how long that would take, the dark-haired man pushed past the blonde, out of the stall, barely able to keep himself from running away as fast as he could.

"Dareynn! Wait!" He could hear Carter following him. He wanted to run, but he couldn't seem to make his legs go through the motion. Dread weighed him down, making walking even seem like a chore. A hand caught his arm, spinning him around.

Before Dareynn could answer, lips were on his again, much more gentle than before. The knot that had formed in his stomach loosened, his hands going to Carter's shoulders. His heart skipped a beat as the blonde's arms slid around his waist. If he was being honest with himself, he liked this. A lot. He'd kissed girls before, sure…but it hadn't felt like this. This…this was bliss.

Carter pushed him backwards, pressing him against the wall as the dark-haired teen deepened the kiss, pressing back against the boy.

The air around them seemed to heat up, the kiss growing deeper and more passionate with every second, bodies pressing closer and hands gripping tighter to one another. Breaking apart for a moment, Dareynn let his head tip back, his eyes half-lidded and his breathing ragged. He couldn't help the noise he made when Carter pushed him harder into the wall, their hips brushing.

Their lips reconnected, bodies pushing against one another. Dareynn slipped to the left, taking Carter with him into an empty stall. He pushed the boy down into the clean hay, laying on top of him and continuing the kiss. Clothes were slowly discarded, tossed aside without much care.

A/N: Heh. It's kinda mean, ending it there… Ah well. ^_~