WARNING:Thisisslash!Don'tlikedon'tread.Youhavebeenwarned!(Nothing graphic just some kissing at the end.)
A/N: This is a totally random bit of story. It isn't linked in anyway to my other stories. My muses just wouldn't leave me alone so I typed it (to shut them up) and decided to share it. Enjoy!
"What?" Dark eyes glared up at the pretty girl standing hands on hips glaring right back. "I'm reading, Robin."
"You're always reading during your free time." Robin retorted. She was classically beautiful with long curly blonde hair, pale skin, and sapphire blue eyes. The boy was the exact opposite with black hair, eyes so dark brown they looked black and a darker skin tone. "You were supposed to meet me over half a candle mark ago."
Shiah blinked and glanced out the library window, "Oh, um… sorry?"
Robin sighed, "It's fine. Can we go now?"
Shiah nodded and got to his feet. He collected his bag from the floor by his chair before standing and offering her his arm. Robin took it with a smile and the two of them left, ignoring the glares that followed them.
"It's not fair," One of the pages muttered sourly.
"Tell me about it. How did a little half blood like him get the prettiest girl in the palace?" Another demanded.
"Who knows?" the first answered, "All I know is she won't give anyone else a second glance."
"Why did the king let him become a page anyway? He's not really a noble."
"Yes, he is, Harold. His father claimed to have married his mother in her land, Kynomi. The king acknowledged his legitimacy before the Duke died." Another page told them. "Like it or not Shiah is nobility and inherits as soon as he's out of training. His mother holds the lands in trust right now, with the help of his sister, I think. I've never seen his sister just heard of her."
"He's nothing but a heathen," Harold muttered. "I can't stand him, Tristen."
Tristen shrugged, "I know what you think and while it irritates me that Lady Robin hangs all over him if Master Redding hears you call Shiah a heathen you'll be mucking out the stables for a month."
"I don't know why he's even bothering to train," Harold continued his rant. "No self respecting Knight would take on a half blood."
"That term will get you kitchen duty for a month," came Tristens absent response.
"Master Redding isn't here." Harold growled.
"No, he's not, but our homework is and you promised to help me with mathematics."
"Fine, fine. What are you stuck on?"
"I just don't understand it, Shiah. Why do all the other pages hate you?" Robin demanded once they were out of the pages wing.
Shiah shrugged, "I don't know. It could be something as simple as my accent."
"You're Common is fine!"
"It's still accented." Shiah answered.
"That's a stupid reason to hate someone." Robin muttered glaring darkly at nothing.
Shiah rolled his eyes, "I didn't say that was the reason. I said that it could be something that simple. Or that I out rank most of them. Or the fact that I have other weapons training that they don't have."
"Well, I'm glad I'm not expected to socialize with any of them or I'd end up gutting one." Robin said darkly.
Shiah smiled faintly, "You'd certainly throw the court into a frenzy."
"It would be worth it."
"Relax, Robin. I can ignore them." Shiah said soothingly. "Let's go have dinner. I have a curfew, if you recall."
"Yes, yes, and you can tell me all about your training and assure me that you truly are eating properly so I can assure Mother."
"Move faster, lads!" Master Redding bellowed. "Run!"
Panting the pages did as they were told. Running in full gear was not easy but they managed. Warm up finished, Master Redding moved them through the normal practice drills. He moved around the room eyes alert and watching for mistakes, all of which were rapidly addressed. Finished with the mornings weapons work, he sent them to the stables.
Shiah kept behind them and said nothing as they all chatted amongst themselves. They saddled their mounts quickly but properly and rode out to the corral. They were quickly set up to practice tilting. Almost finished with their morning training, their attention shifted as Sean hissed out, "Lady Robin is watching."
The boys lost their focus and several sharp reprimands rang out before Master Redding nudged his horse over to the fence where Lady Robin was standing. He spoke too softly for the boys to hear, "Can I assist you with something, Lady Robin?"
She smiled politely up at him, "I was merely waiting for your morning practice to end. I have something for Shiah and didn't want to miss him." She indicated the package in her arms.
"I can give it to him," Master Redding offered.
Robin shook her head, "No, thank you. I have to leave this afternoon and wish to say good bye as well."
"I see," He considered her a moment before nodding, "I will send him to you."
"Thank you, Master Redding."
He nodded and turned his horse around and back to the pages, most of whom looked annoyed that they couldn't hear what was going on. "Shiah! You have a visitor. See to the lady quickly." He commanded.
"Yes, Master Redding," Shiah replied instantly. He guided his horse over to Robin. They talked briefly before she handed him the package she was holding and left. The boys all watched her leave before Master Reddings bellow caused them all to jump and resume tilting.
There were dark mutterings in the stable as the pages saw to their mounts. As Shiah started to leave he found four of the second year pages blocking his way. He stopped out of arms reach and waited.
"Why does Lady Robin fancy you?" Harold demanded.
Shiah blinked and repeated, "Fancy."
"Yes," Harold ground out.
Shiah frowned clearly thinking before finally admitting, "I don't understand."
Harold snarled but before he could move Tristen spoke up from one of the nearby stalls. "He means why does she like you? Fancy is just another way of saying that she is accepting your courtship," Harold said not even looking up from his grooming.
"Ah," Shiah said clearly memorizing the explanation. He frowned sharply, "Courtship."
Tristen did look up at that. "I would think you know that one."
Shiah scowled, "I know what courtship is, but it doesn't apply to Robin."
"You call her by her name with no title and claim not to court her?" Sean demanded.
Shiah looked around and realized that everyone was listening, "You all think I'm courting Robin?"
Harold growled, "We know you're courting her! I want to know why she accepts you."
Shiahs lips twitched. He took a breath trying to calm him self. It didn't work and he started to laugh. He took a sharp step back still laughing as Harold reached for him. Shiah shook his head and held his hands up. Tristen and Sean grabbed Harold before he could lunge for Shiah again. Shiah took a shuddering breath and managed to stop his laughter. He bit his lip and regarded Harold, "I'm sorry but what exactly do you know about Robin?"
Harold growled, "She's the newest Lady to be introduced to the court and by far the prettiest. You shouldn't even turn her head and yet she dotes on you and brings you gifts."
Shiah swallowed hard but managed not to laugh, "I'm not sure why you think this is so surprising."
Harold growled. Tristen tugged sharply on his arm before addressing Shiah, "You obviously know something about her we don't. Why don't you enlighten us?"
Shiah smiled faintly, "I know many things about Robin that you do not. I'd have to say the main thing would be our relationship."
"Which is?" Tristen prodded.
Shiah smiled wider, "Robin is my twin." Shocked exclamations filled the air. "Shiah doesn't translate. It is just a name. Komadori, however, translates to robin."
"Komadori?" Tristen frowned. "I've never heard anyone call Lady Robin that."
Shiah shrugged, "Of course not, she's gone by Robin ever since we were four. She likes it better and it means the same thing."
"You're not joking." Tristen said shocked.
Shiah laughed as he moved passed them. He paused at the door and looked back, "Robin went home. Mother wrote about some problem and Robin went to fix it. She'll be back at the end of the month. You have that long to figure out how to get into her good graces. The lot of you have seriously pissed her off." With that he turned and vanished out the door.
There was a stunned silence before Tristen broke it with a harsh curse and raced out the door. Harold blinked stupefied, "What's his problem?"
Sean and several other pages snickered. "You are so dense some times," Sean said exasperated, "haven't you figured out now that Tristen fancies Shiah?"
Harold choked, "Tell me you're joking!"
"No, he's not," Joseph said dryly. "Sean is right; you are dense."
Harold scowled, "I am not. It can't have been that noticeable." All the pages left started laughing and Harold flushed. "It was that noticeable?"
"I think," Sean said dryly, "the only ones who never noticed are you and Shiah himself."
Harold frowned, "Why hasn't Shiah noticed?"
Joseph answered as they started up the hill to the palace and lunch. "Well, think about it. No one talks to him and with you being so grouchy around him he avoids us like a lady avoids mud."
Harold considered that as they walked, "So, how do we help Tristen get him?"
Sean gave him an incredulous look. "You can't stand him!"
"But Tristen is my best friend," Harold countered, "and if he wants Shiah I'm going to help him."
"What if Shiah doesn't like Tristen?" Joseph asked causiously.
Harolds eyes narrowed dangerously, "Why wouldn't he like Tristen?"
Sean and Joseph shared a look behind Harolds back. "Well, Shiah doesn't like any of us really." Sean answered.
Harold growled, "That's my fault not Tristens."
"We know," Joseph said dryly as they entered the bathing chambers. Harold glared at him and Joseph stepped quickly away.
At lunch Harold watched as Shiah sat by himself. Now that he was paying attention, he could see that Tristen almost constantly watched Shiah. "I am dense," he muttered sourly.
Sean snickered, "So, now you listen to us. I do have a bit of advice that I truly hope you heed."
"And that is?" Harold growled.
"Before you do any thing or attempt to plan some thing." Sean said seriously. "Talk. To. Tristen."
Harold looked at him as if he was crazy, "Tristen would never let me help."
"He probably has a good reason for that." Joseph pointed out firmly. "If you do some thing with out talking to Tristen he may never forgive you."
"Joseph is right." Sean cut in, "If you ruin what chance he has, you'll loose your best friend."
Harold contemplated that for a very long time. The two boys waited tensely. Finally Harold nodded, "I have to go talk to Tristen."
The boys sighed in relief as he stood and started across the room. It turned into gasps of dismay as Harold veered and went to sit opposite Shiah. The pages all froze in shock, but Shiah merely raised an eyebrow. "You needed some thing?" he asked dryly.
"If I stop being an ass, will you tell me about Lady Robin?" Harold demanded.
Shiah's lips twitched, but he managed not to laugh, "I see. Well, I'm afraid that won't work. I've gotten rather good at ignoring you after all."
Harold sighed, "So, what do you want?"
"Honestly?" Shiah asked, "I doubt you could give me what I need at the moment."
"What do you need?" Harold demanded.
"Some one that can help me with written Common." Shiah said bluntly, "I speak it well enough, but I didn't start to learn to write it until we moved here two years ago. I can't graduate to squire until I can write fluently in Common. I know very well that you are barely passing your language classes and can't help me, so you're out of luck."
Harold grinned broadly, "I can't, but I know who can. I'm passing because of Tristen. He helps me with all of the reading and writing junk and I help him with mathematics. He's hopeless with numbers."
Shiah gave him a cold look, "Why on earth would Tristen help me?"
"He would if I asked him to," Harold said confidently. "It's not that much harder to help more then one person at the same time."
Shiah smiled faintly, "You get me help and I'll introduce you to Robin."
Harolds eyes gleamed. "Deal!" He stood as the bell to go to classes rang. He didn't bother to find Tristen as all the pages headed toward the class rooms. Tristen found him. A hard hand wrapped painfully around his bicep. Harold winced. "Ow, we're going to the same class. Let go."
Tristen's hand tightened further. "I am going to kill you," he hissed viciously.
"What for?" Harold demanded. "I didn't even ask you for the favor yet."
Tristen's grip loosened slightly. "What favor?" he demanded.
"My brilliant plan!" Harold said enthusiastically, "I talked to Shiah-"
"I noticed." Tristen said tightly.
Harold shot him a puzzled look, but continued, "He said he needs help with writing. I said you'd help if I asked-"
Tristens growl cut him off.
Harold frowned, "Why are you so mad at me? Shiah said he'd introduce me to Lady Robin if I could get him help. You've always helped me with my plans."
Tristen stared at him in complete disbelief.
A throat cleared pointedly behind them. They jumped and turned around to see their teacher standing in the door of the class room. "You are both late. Go sit."
"Yes, sir!" They chorused quickly and raced in to sit down.
Classes seemed to drag as Harold waited for the few free hours they had to study. Finally their last class, Etiquette, ended and they were set free. Harold managed to get through the crowd to Tristens side. "So? Will you help me?" He asked hopefully.
Tristen scowled at him.
Harold's expression crumpled, "Please, Tristen? Shiah doesn't like me. There's no way I'll ever get to meet Lady Robin with out his help and the others will all think of asking him sooner or later. With my luck, sooner."
Tristen sighed heavily, "Alright, go find him. I'll meet you in the smaller library in the back room on the right."
"Yes! Thanks, Tristen!" Harold said with a huge grin and ran off before Tristen could change his mind. Harold slid to a stop outside Shiah's door. Hoping fervently Shiah was there he knocked firmly.
"It's open," came Shiah's muffled response.
Harold opened the door and blinked. Shiah was sitting on the floor at a small table his books in front of him but unopened. He looked up as Harold glanced around curiously. There were some marked differences in Shiah's room other then the odd short table. He didn't have a standard bed, just a thick mattress on the floor. A large folding screen with a beautiful landscape painted on it blocked off one corner of the room. There were no chairs just a few cushions on the floor around the table. Looking back at Shiah, Harold could see the other boy was amused. Harold grinned, "Tristen said yes. We study in the library. He said he'd meet us there."
Shiah merely nodded and gathered up the books he had out and tucked them into the bag at his side before standing and following Harold through the pages wing to the library. Tristen glanced up as they entered the small room. The boys sat and got out their things.
Tristen took a breath and addressed Shiah, "So, what exactly do you need help with?"
"Reading and writing Common." Shiah answered, "I've been reading every chance I get but I'm not improving fast enough and my writing is even worse."
Tristen frowned faintly, "Can you show me some of your work?"
Shiah handed him his writing tablet. Tristen flipped open the cover and skimmed the pages. Finally, he looked over to Shiah, "How on earth did you manage to enter page training with your writing at this level?"
Shiah winced, "They let me write out the answers in Kynoi, with the condition that I can't graduate to squire until I can read and write fluently in Common."
Tristen nodded, "That makes sense. Let's see where you are reading wise." He pushed a book toward Shiah, "Start at the beginning."
Shiah frowned, "We've been reading this for class. We're passed chapter one."
"I know, but if you don't read well it's hard to retain information," Tristen explained, "and we want to focus on reading not on learning new material."
Shiah nodded accepting the explanation and began reading. Harold stopped his own studying and watched. Shiah followed the text with a finger and stopped frequently to sound out words. Tristen stopped him after two pages. "Tell me what you just read about."
Shiah stared at him blankly. "What?"
"Reading is pointless if you can't remember what you read." Tristen said patiently, "They'll test you comprehension. So, tell me what you just read."
Shiah blinked and looked down at the book in his hands, "Um, history of the kingdom…"
Tristen waited, but Shiah didn't look up. "Alright," he said slowly, "if that's all you're getting from reading I see why they're worried. How are you getting your assignments done?"
Shiah fiddled with the book in his hands, "I have all of the books in Kynoi, too. All my work get's translated for the teachers."
Tristen snorted, "Well, that stops now. How do they expect you to learn if you can rely on a crutch like that? No more Kynoi. Start doing all your assignments in Common."
Shiah stared at him aghast, "But I'll fail!"
"No you won't. I'll help you with them and I bet the teachers would like to see that you're actually trying to learn Common." Tristen argued. "You're never going to learn if you keep relying on your first language. If you want to become a squire you're going to have to work for it."
Shiah scowled, "I am working."
"And I'm going to force you to work harder." Tristen said easily.
Shiah sighed, "No more Kynoi?"
"None," Tristen confirmed.
Shiah nodded even though he was clearly unhappy, "Alright, what now?"
"Now we study," Tristen said firmly. He moved his chair closer and flipped the book back to the first page. "We'll start at the beginning and go line by line if necessary."
Harold hid a grin as they got to work.
The next two weeks passed rapidly. All of Shiah's teachers complemented him on writing in Common. The other pages started to talk to him by the second day. Shiah always seemed to be faintly amused by their chatter. Then morning training in the corral was interrupted once more by Lady Robin watching them.
Master Redding went to talk to her again, "Good morning, Lady Robin."
"Good morning, Master Redding." She responded politely.
"Did you need to speak with Page Shiah again?" he asked.
"No, I merely wish to watch today."
Master Redding sighed, "Very well, Lady Robin."
She smiled impishly up at him, "Think of it as a focusing lesson. They'll need to learn to fight even if a pretty girl is watching."
Master Redding rolled his eyes slightly, "Thank you for the training opportunity," he said sarcastically.
Lady Robin giggled behind her hand and watched as Master Redding rode back over to his students. Once they were dismissed, Shiah rode over to her and dismounted. They spoke a moment before Shiah moved along the fence leading his horse toward the stables. Lady Robin followed on the other side. She waited by the gate as Shiah led his horse through and followed him into the stable. Quite a few pages dropped their brushes as Lady Robin entered with Shiah. She didn't even glance at them, just followed Shiah to his assigned stall.
With a sharp glance toward their audience, Lady Robin said something in Kynoi. Shiah frowned at her. "It's rude to speak in a language they don't understand."
Her reply was once again in Kynoi. Tristen laughed and haltingly called out something in Kynoi. Both Shiah and Robin stared at him. "Since when do you speak Kynoi?" Shiah demanded.
Tristen grinned, "I've been taking lessons for three years."
"Why didn't you ever say anything?" Shiah asked as he started to groom his horse.
"You never asked."
"Your accent is terrible," Robin said bitingly.
Shiah glared at her, but Tristen laughed, "I know, but I understand more then I can actually pronounce."
"Well, that's something anyway," she sniffed.
"Robin!" Shiah hissed, "Stop being rude."
Robin glared back, "I can be rude if I wish."
Shiah threw his brush into the basket hanging on the side of the stall before spinning to face Robin. "If you're going to be rude don't come around here anymore."
Robin glared, "You can't stop me from visiting."
"I don't have to talk to you though," Shiah snapped and stalked past her and toward the door. Robin stared after him shock clear on her pretty face.
"Shiah?" she whispered, worry overtaking her tone. Shiah didn't even pause, just left. "Shiah!" Robin cried almost panicked and ran after him.
"Well, that clears up one mystery." Sean said as he put away his own brush.
"What mystery?" Harold asked from his position by the door.
"Which twin is dominate," Sean answered, as they all started toward the palace. "Twins show up in my family all the time. I have four sets of cousins who are twins and there's always a dominate twin."
Tristen looked puzzled, "Dominate twin? I don't understand what you mean."
"In every set of twins I've ever seen or heard of there's one twin that's considered dominate. Sometimes it's subtle and hard to tell which, but one twin always seems to rely more on the other." Sean explained, "If Robin was that panicked I'd say that she needs Shiah and would do anything to keep him."
Joseph pointed ahead of them and they all turned to look. Lady Robin was standing by the door to the pages wing. Shiah was no where in sight. They slowed as the came near. Lady Robin stepped right up to Tristen and curtsied. "I'm very sorry for my rude behavior," she said almost anxiously.
Tristen smiled at her, "It's okay, Lady Robin." He hesitated thinking over Sean's explanation before offering hesitantly, "We're not trying to keep Shiah away from you. It must be hard to have to share him."
"You have no idea," Lady Robin said, sounding lost. "I've never had to share Shiah. He's always just been mine."
Tristen gave her a sympathetic look, "You can visit more if you'd like."
Lady Robin looked away, "No, I can't. Mother needs me at home too much. She doesn't speak Common well and the lands don't run themselves. Shiah's busy so I have to take care of it. I can't just abandon our people."
Tristen nodded, "Such is the life of a noble. I'm very sorry, Lady Robin."
She smiled rather wanly, "You have no reason to apologize. You didn't do anything and I was the one who was rude." She glanced up at the sun and sighed, "I have to go." She curtsied briefly and left as he bowed in response.
The pages were rather silent as they washed up for lunch. Once they settled into their meal Harold couldn't take not knowing any more, "Shiah, why are you in training? You don't need to become a knight. You're not a younger son and already have lands. You don't need to earn more from the king."
Shiah glanced at him then around the table. All the other pages were listening. Shiah fiddled with his spoon a moment before answering, "I'm fulfilling a promise."
"A promise." Harold repeated.
"Yes, to-" he stopped and frowned, "um, my mother's brother."
"Uncle," Tristen supplied, "your mothers' brother would be your uncle."
Shiah nodded, "My uncle. I'm also forcing Robin to become more independent."
Sean frowned, "Removing yourself from her life seems a little harsh."
Shiah shook his head, "I haven't removed myself, just put some distance." They didn't look convinced. "We're fourteen and have never really been separated. Robin was getting dangerously dependent on my presence. For a long time she refused to go anywhere without me. If I went with Father to the palace and left her at home she would sit in her room and cry until I returned. That's not healthy. I started to deliberately leave her at home and encouraged her to go places without me. It took almost two years before Robin would leave the house without me. We're not children any more, she has to be self-sufficient not dependent."
Sean nodded in agreement, "One set of my cousins are like that. It can be very dangerous, if that dependency isn't dealt with. My grandmother lost two of her brothers that way. One had an accident and the dependent twin just gave up on life and followed his twin into death."
Shiah nodded grimly, "If some thing happened to me tomorrow, I doubt Robin would live out the week."
Sean winced, "I can see why you're forcing her to become self-sufficient."
Shiah shrugged, "Accidents happen. You can't control everything in life."
"What promise?" Harold asked going back to the previous topic.
Shiah fiddled with his cup a moment. "Because of my parentage I was unable to do what I truly wanted. My uncle is a Shadow Warrior. One of the Emperors hidden body guards the most elite warriors of the Empire. I cannot become a Shadow Warrior. This is the next best thing. I swore to my uncle that I would one day become as great as him and I will."
"But you are Kynomi," Sean pointed out. "Why can't you become a Shadow Warrior?"
"Conflict of interest. I am Kynomi but I am also Havalin like you. If the treaties between our lands ever fell through there could be problems." Shiah pointed out, "It doesn't matter that the treaties have held for over two hundred years. I doubt I would ever be allowed to guard the King either."
"That's not fair," Tristen protested.
Shiah looked amused, "Life isn't fair. If any one tells you different they are lying. I don't want to guard the King anyway. I will become great in a different way."
"How?" Sean and Harold asked as one.
Shiah grinned, "I will travel and help anyone who needs it until the whole world knows my name."
Tristen laughed, "Well isn't that a romantic notion."
"It's what I want to do." Shiah answered, not the least bit offended.
The bell rang signaling the end of lunch. The pages all stood and cleared their places before heading to their rooms for their books. Reaching his first class Shiah was stopped at the door by the teacher, a priest of the temple. "Page Shiah, I have good news for you."
Shiah eyed him hesitantly, "Yes, holiness?"
The priest smiled at him, "I have noted your progress the last two weeks and have informed Master Redding that I believe you have surpassed my class. I have a final exam ready for you. It is in Master Reddings possession. He's waiting for you in his office. You will take the exam there and I will grade it this evening. I will send word at dinner if you passed."
Shiah grinned brightly, "Thank you, holiness." Shiah bowed and departed. Reaching Master Reddings office, Shiah knocked politely.
"Enter." Master Redding was at his desk. He barely glanced up as Shiah came in. He motioned to a small table in the corner of the office. "Your exam is there. You have until the next bell to finish."
Shiah nodded and quickly settled in to his exam. Master Redding watched a moment to make sure Shiah left his books in his bag before going back to his paperwork.
"I heard Priest Connell had you take the exam for his history class." Tristen remarked to Shiah as they stood in line at dinner.
"Yes," Shiah answered absently as he took a tray.
"I was surprised. I didn't think you knew Havalin history." Tristen commented.
"Father made sure I learned it." Shiah replied. "I know all of the Etiquette, too. They just won't let me pass until I can write the exams in Common."
"So, other then reading and writing, do you need any of the other classes?" Tristen asked curious.
Shiah grinned up at him, "Mathematics. I with you numbers make no sense. Harold makes it look so easy. It makes me want to strangle him."
"I second that," Sean said with feeling from Shiahs other side. "How can someone who doesn't have any sense test out of every mathematics course page training offers?"
Tristen choked and bit his tongue hard to keep his laughter inside. Carefully not looking at them so he wouldn't start laughing, Tristen answered, "Harold has always understood numbers. He can calculate large sums in his head and is positively brilliant with anything requiring building things or plans for building. He just doesn't get the rest of it. His father is the same why. The man couldn't tell you a thing about history or literature if his life depended on it."
"Good thing he's head of Finance and not the university." Sean muttered as they settled at a table.
Tristen chuckled, "At least Harold is willing to help us."
Sean frowned, "Since when? Harold is never around during study hours."
Shiah and Tristen stared at him. "We study in one of the back rooms in the small library." Tristen told him blankly. "You've never come to ask anything."
Sean's eyes lit up, "That's where you go? Can I come too?"
"Sure," Tristen answered bemused. "I thought everyone knew we were back there."
"Nope," Joseph said joining their conversation, "As far as we knew, you and Harold would just disappear. We thought Shiah studied in his room."
"I did, but Tristen's been helping me with reading and writing in Common." Shiah informed him.
The oldest page, Wilfred, sneered at Shiah, "I just knew it, the little heathen can't even read. Pathetic."
Shiah went very still and his expression closed off completely. Tristen and Sean glared furious, too angry to actually speak. Joseph had no such problems, "Shiah reads and writes Common just fine or Priest Connell wouldn't be graduating him out of his class. And furthermore, Wilfred," Joseph said eyes glinted dangerously, "you should be a bit more cautious about insulting others intelligence when you are dangerously close to failing as a page. This is, after all, you're last year to prove yourself before you become too old. Tell me, how many classes have you failed?"
Wilfred snarled lunging to his feet and reaching for Joseph. Unfortunately for him he had to reach too close to Shiah who reacted by grabbing Wilfreds wrist and using his own momentum against him. One swift tug sent the startled boy over the table to land face first on the floor. Wilfred stumbled to his feet blood streaming down his face from a clearly broken nose. The other boys had wasted no time and were already on their feet ready and willing to defend themselves.
They didn't need to. Master Reddings hand came down on Wilfreds shoulder holding him in place. "What," he asked in a deadly tone of voice, "is going on here?"
"That little heathen attacked me!" Wilfred snarled, pointing accusingly at Shiah. In the next second he realized the error of addressing Shiah in such a way as Master Reddings hand tightened painfully on his shoulder.
"I believe," Master Redding said in that same dangerous tone, "you wish to rephrase that statement."
Wilfred swallowed, hard. "I- I mean, Sh-Shiah attacked me," he choked out.
"Page Shiah?" Master Redding inquired, his grip on Wilfred loosening but he didn't let go.
Joseph spoke before Shiah could. "He was defending me, Master Redding. I said something Page Wilfred didn't like. When Wilfred moved to attack me Shiah pulled him over the table."
"I see." Master Redding did not look happy. "All of you will accompany me to my office. Now," he said finally releasing Wilfred.
All of them silently followed Master Redding to his office and lined up in front of his desk as he sat down. Tristen nudged Shiah to the end of the line and stood beside him. Joseph fell in on Tristens left while Sean came to stand on Josephs left. Wilfred put some distance in between Sean and himself on the end.
"Page Sean, I would like you to explain." Master Redding said staring steadily at them.
Sean swallowed but started talking none the less, "We were discussing class work, Master Redding. Shiah commented that Tristen was helping him with reading and writing. Wilfred made a belittling remark. Joseph replied in kind. Wilfred lunged for Joseph and Shiah pulled him over the table."
"What precisely did Page Wilfred say?" Master Reddings voice was deceptively calm.
"I'm not sure of the precise wording." Sean said staring over Master Reddings head.
"As close as you can come. What did he say?"
Sean's mouth tightened, "He said that he knew the little heathen couldn't even read and called him pathetic."
"And what did Joseph say?"
Sean sighed but didn't even try to dodge the question, it was clear that Master Redding was going to insist on answers. "Joseph said that he should be more careful in insulting peoples' intelligence since he is the oldest page. He then asked how many classes Wilfred had failed."
Master Redding was silent a long moment staring at the boys as they struggled not to fidget. "Sean, Tristen and Shiah are excused."
The boys shared a look, but knew better then to argue. They filled out silently. Shiah spoke once the door was shut behind them. "He should have let it lie. I've been called worse."
"That doesn't mean you deserve it," Tristen said firmly as they took up positions down the hall a ways to wait for Joseph.
"I know that. It doesn't mean they don't say things behind my back." Shiah pointed out.
"You shouldn't have to put up with it," Tristen half growled.
Shiah turned on him suspiciously, "Why do you even care?"
Tristen froze and stared at Shiah a look of fear crossing his face. "I-" he choked.
Shiah frowned at him, "You, what?"
Sean eased back toward Master Reddings office as the door opened and Joseph exited. He signaled Joseph to stay away. Sean joined him and they turned to watch the drama play out.
"Well?" Shiah demanded, starting to look really tense.
"Um," Tristen faltered. Shiah glared and started to turn away. "Oh, hell," Tristen muttered sharply causing Shiah to turn back puzzled. Tristen never cursed. Before he could comment Tristen cupped his face and kissed him softly. Tristen drew back but didn't let go of him.
Shiah blinked up at him blankly a moment, "Oh."
An anxious look crossed Tristens face before it smoothed out. "Just 'oh'?" he questioned.
Shiah blinked again, "I owe Robin a gold piece."
Tristen did let go of him at that, "What?"
Shiah shrugged, "Robin said you were always glaring at her and not me. I didn't believe her. I guess she was right."
Tristen stared at him mutely. Joseph interrupted dryly from behind them. "Shiah, you're going to need to give him more of a clue then that."
Shiah jumped and twisted to look at Sean and Joseph who were both watching. A slow flush crept up his neck as Shiah glared at them. "Go away," he commanded.
Joseph laughed, "No offence, but logically you should talk else where. We are right outside Master Reddings office."
Shiah's eyes widened in alarm. His gaze flew to the closed office door before he grabbed Tristens hand and tugged him down the hall. Sean called cheekily after them, "Tell us what you decide!"
Tristen sent him a murderous look over his shoulder even as he lengthened his stride to pace beside Shiah instead of behind. He didn't say anything as Shiah led him to his room. He did look rather nervous as Shiah closed the door behind them. "Ummm…" he trailed off not knowing what to say.
Shiah glanced at him then away flushing again. "Did you mean it?" he asked. The hesitant question seamed to be directed to his shoes.
Tristen went with his instincts and moved forward crowding Shiah back against the door. Tipping Shiah's face up Tristen kissed him again. Not as soft chaste kiss like the one before. This kiss was much more involved. Tristen released him but didn't step back. In fact he couldn't, Shiah's hands had wound themselves in his tunic.
Shiah stared at him rather dazed, "You do mean it."
Tristen smiled and leaned closer nuzzling Shiahs neck. He thoroughly enjoyed the soft sound Shiah made at that. "Always," Tristen murmured against his neck.
Shiah shuddered faintly, "Robin will most likely never like you."
"I can share you with Robin." Tristen said absently as he managed to get one hand under Shiahs' tunic and shirt to caress bare skin. "You're twins. I know she's important to you, but I still want you to be mine in some way."
Shiah shivered at the touch, "I still want to become a knight."
Tristen smiled faintly and shifted tipping his head to press their foreheads lightly together, "Me too."
"We'll be split up as squires." Shiah pointed out not looking at him.
Tristen shrugged, "We can deal with that when it happens. There are currently more pages then knights. The king has already declared that a knight may take on more then one squire if he so desires."
Shiah rolled his eyes pulling away slightly, "Like that will ever happen."
Tristen shrugged, "I can dream. If not, I'm willing to wait the two years required of a squire."
"I want to go traveling."
"Can I come to?"
"You want to?"
"For you, Shiah, I would do anything," Tristen whispered kissing him again. "Just say you'll be mine."
"Always," Shiah murmured and pulled him down for another kiss.
A/N: As I said at the beginning this was a random plot/story that popped in my head. I may revisit them in the future and add on sequels. We'll just have to see what my muses say (and see how many reviews I get). this is not proof-read, all mistakes are mine. (I think I figured out the does/dose thing… stupid dyslexia… but if you notice any in this story I'd like to know so I can fix it.)