This comes from the 64 Damn Prompts on LiveJournal (by rashaka). I will, most likely, be working through all 64, because I can't bear to leave such a lovely thing unfinished. I will also include the song that helped me write it/find inspiration/that I thought fit the mood.
P.S.~ Beware the D.O.U.S's! (Drabbles of Unusual Size)
Prompt 15: Duty
Music: Let Me Be the One, by Blessed Union of Souls
All Adrien had ever known was duty—duty to his wife, to his family, to his district, to the other lords, to the king, to the country. An endless chain of duty and obligation, responsibility and accountability, of never living for himself. It numbed him after a while, dulled everything to a monochrome landscape of black and white, right and wrong, good and evil. There were no shades of grey. There was no overlap. Black was black and white was white. They never crossed, never bled into one another.
It was predictable, safe, and—above all—it was boring.
But then, like a falling star, a stranger burst into his life in a Technicolor blaze, and suddenly black was silver and gold and fuchsia, and white was brilliant scarlet and daylily-orange. Suddenly he could see patterns again, starbursts of color and streaks of radiance that lit up the world.
For the first time in his life, Adrien wanted.
For the first time in his life, he got.
Lucian might have been younger by over a dozen years, but it could never be said that he didn't know what he wanted. Adrien had felt the shapeshifter's eyes on him several times after their first meeting on the battlefield, and knew that his interest was returned—though, of course, he couldn't say how much was returned. Did Lucian simply want one night with him? Did he want a few weeks, a time to play around and become accustomed to such a relationship? Did he want Adrien to court him in the manner of a nobleman?
(Somehow, Adrien felt he was safe from the last one; he couldn't imagine Lucian ever wanting to be courted with such archaic rituals as the House was likely to insist on.)
Adrien was scared to look deeper into their relationship, the hesitant connection that had formed between two war-battered men with very little left to lose. The courage that was so vaunted among the other lords had vanished, swept away by a boy with sun-bright hair and an acrobat's limber grace. Now he felt that all he had left was his cowardice. For, truly, how rare was it that two people actually loved each other to the same degree? It was such a small probability that he couldn't bear to ask what Lucian wished them to become.
His heart was still healing from his wife's death. The fragile bonds holding it together wouldn't withstand another blow.
Still, it wasn't all painful and terrible, Adrien thought, wrapping his arms around the leanly muscled form draped over his side. He buried his nose in the brilliant golden hair and inhaled the scent of clean mountain air, cold night skies, and burning power that clung to the shapeshifter. The weight of another body next to his was a grounding warmth, even as it sent his head spinning, and the idea that, out of all the men and women who wanted him, Lucian had chosen Adrien was staggering. Adrien knew he was a cold man, that his duty to his House and his king overwhelmed everything else in his life, leaving no time for relationships or love.
And yet, here Lucian was, in his arms and in his bed, softly illuminated by the golden light of sunrise spilling through the windows.
He should have been scared, terrified of what the future held, but all Adrien could feel was contentment.
There was a soft rustle of blankets, and Lucian rolled over, pressing closer to him. The young man somehow managed to find his hand and wind their fingers together, even asleep, and Adrien smiled slightly, pulling him closer still. Here, now, like this, he could say it.
"Lucian D'Arcy, I have fallen in love with you," he murmured.
Shock stilled his heart as sleepy silver eyes fluttered open, and Lucian smiled at him in return, just slightly—neither of them was much for smiles, really. Then he buried his face in the curve of Adrien's shoulder and mumbled, "Love you, too. Go back to sleep. Too early."
Speechless, Adrien did as he was told, tightening his grip on the shapeshifter until it was nearly painful before he let himself surrender to his dreams.
Somehow, they were nowhere near as sweet as his reality.