A/N: This story is currently undergoing revision. I have left a part of each chapter up in order to preserve reviews. I WILL REPEAT: THIS IS ONLY A FEW PARAGRAPHS OF A 7,000 WORD CHAPTER. Hopefully you can all be understanding about this and I won't be forced to take it down, because if it does go down, it won't be coming back up. Thanks so much for all the support!
Chapter One: Wandering Eyes
It was early. Too early. Kieran knew he had only gone to sleep a few hours ago, so why did he feel Fidele's rough hand touching his face. Was it a dream? The young prince lifted his hand to cover that of Fidele. It felt real. But Kieran supposed the only way to tell for sure was to open his eyes and see if the intimidating form of his massive bodyguard really was looming over him, lit up in eerie shadows from the flames dancing slowly in the fireplace behind him. Exhaling a soft huff of disappointment at having been disturbed from his sleep, Kieran willed his heavy eyelids open. After a second or two of fluttering tiredly, brown eyes fought against the darkness to make out Fidele's familiar face. When the bodyguard lifted his hand from Kieran's cheek, the prince held onto it stubbornly as he turned his face into the pillow beneath his head in clear protest of being woken up at such an hour.
Sleep here, in this bed with me, Kieran would have liked to say to Fidele. That cot is pathetic. There's plenty of room for you here. Next to me. But he never said it. Fidele would never accept such an offer, and Kieran didn't know if he could bear the rejection. It wasn't a matter of feelings. It was a matter of duty. Fealty and servitude. Knowing one's place among others. Perhaps the prince could have ordered it. Did it mean the same thing that way, though? He had considered it many a time, but the thought didn't sit well with him at all, thus Kieran had never actually given such a command to his bodyguard.
"Wake up, your highness." Fidele's voice was low and smooth, gently slipping through the air and into Kieran's ear like a deep, rich stream of silk.
"I give the orders around here," Kieran reminded his bodyguard, the words muffled by his pillow.
"With all due respect, Prince Kieran, your father's orders take precedence over yours," Fidele reminded the prince, torn between his amusement at the young prince and the urgency of the situation. He curled his fingers around Kieran's wrist and took a step backwards, dragging the prince toward the edge of the bed, away from his pillow and out from under the blanket he had sought refuge underneath. Though Kieran wasn't all that small, Fidele was quite large, making it a fairly easy task for him to manhandle the stubborn prince if the occasion called for it. After a bit of a struggle, Fidele managed to seize Kieran's other wrist, and raised his arms up over his head, forcing the prince to either put his feet on the ground underneath himself, or dangle as though his wrists were shackled in chains hanging from the ceiling.
"Why are you doing this to me?" Kieran pouted up at Fidele.
"You'll be grateful for me one day, Kieran," Fidele replied, releasing his hold on the prince's wrists and lowering his own arms as Kieran let his fall to his sides unceremoniously.
It would have been a perfect moment for a kiss, Kieran decided, as he glowered. He would only have to raise himself up to his tip-toes and close a small distance. They were very close, their chests almost touching, only a tiny breadth away from each other. Barely enough space to slip a thin curtain between them. But that invisible curtain was impassable. Kieran's expression softened and a moment passed during which the two remained caught in each other's gaze. These moments were not rare between the prince and his bodyguard, who spent every second of every day together. In fact, Kieran reckoned that there must have been many hours lost in this manner. And he didn't want those hours back. He wouldn't say that he was content to spend time locked in an intent stare down that left him aching with an overwhelming sexual tension; that was unbelievably frustrating. But he would rather spend his time that way than most other methods of passing the hours.