Dragon Raja and the Core Tokens: Grief

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The next week was a bright one, after the long snowstorm everything settled into the iced water, everything was bright and fresh, to signal a new day. Asen had been spending the night at the Krylo with Vera lately. The two of them were becoming great friends. Asen packed his things so he could set up the Swan Hall as per usual, he parted from the Krylo and made his way through the thick snow, he saw some foxes loitering by the barrels and he shooed them away. The brunette took the key from around his neck off and unlocked the doors, walking through the empty hall, and flicked the lights on.

He sighed and set his bag down by the table, taking off his thick, brown winter coat and draped it over the bench by the tables. Asen stretched and let a small yawn escape him. He had a black, sleeveless turtleneck that had a chest window in the front and straps across it, simple tan pants and winter boots, and of course the Swan Hall key around his neck. He soon headed off to the kitchen, starting on breakfast. Not too long Hertzog made his way in, surprised to see Asen there early

“Good Morning” He called out from the hall,

Asen peered from the doorway of the kitchen, holding a mixing bowl “Morning Professor” He called back

“Got an early start did you?” Jung put his hands in the pockets, of his white coat, heading towards the kitchen to grab his vodka, he poured himself a small glass and placed it down, Asen cocked a brow at this and Hertzog laughed sheepishly

“To get my morning started...” He raised his glass slightly before drinking it down and washing his glass

“Do you drink every morning?” He asked

“Not enough to be considered drunk but enough to wake me up, like coffee” He joked lightly

“Can’t imagine that’s good for your liver, or your heart” Asen said quietly, continuing on cooking

“It helps numb the pain..” He explained, leaning back

“You...haven’t told anyone yet have you..?” Hertzog then questioned

“Of course not,” Asen replied

“Good-” Hertzog started before Asen interrupted him,

“But I don’t know why I shouldn’t. The orphanage has the right to know..” Asen prattled

“Asen...It would cause unnecessary worry, I don’t want that, you kids should focus on your training,” Hertzog sighed, placing his arms behind his back, gazing out the window

“I’ve worked too hard for you kids to do anything else..” He added

“I know..” Asen sighed walking over to him, he placed a hand on the professor’s back

“But we work too hard for you not to be there with us..” Asen protested

“You’re our family, my family...I can’t imagine a life without you..” He softened

“Asen...I’m going to be sixty next year, that’s far closer to the common death cap than when I first brought you two in, I’ve done a lot in my life...I fought for my country, created an institution, and yet...I haven’t found anything for you kids, I need to know when I’m gone that this place will live on” He softened

“You worked so hard for Black Swan Bay, God forbid, but when you go, Renata and I will always be here, to carry on your work and to provide the same mission it’s always had, to provide sanctuary for Hybrids and give them a place to learn and grow without public propaganda,” Asen explained, letting his hand rest on the older man’s back

“Right...that mission” Hertzog let out a heavy sigh and suddenly clasped his hands together

“Right then, enough of this gloom lets change the subject,” Hertzog said confidently, beginning to help Asen with the food preparations,

“So how’s thins going with you and Vera” He teased lightly, Asen turned bright red and almost dropped the bowl stumbling, Hertzog caught him, chuckling lightly, watching his son’s face turned even redder

“Y-You know about that??” He stammered

“Everyone knows my boy, It isn’t exactly kept secret” He teased again, taking the bowl from him

Asen just laughed nervously, his face bright red now, “I-It’s Uhm, good- She and I aren’t dating though, just good friends...I don’t wanna put this expectation on her that I only hang out with her to date her..” He mumbled out. Hertzog nodded, understanding

“I mean it would be so nice if we did date...but, she needs a friend right now, and probably for a long time, I wanna be her friend first before anything else” Asen explained

“Such a nobleman, not many men your age would think that way...I’m proud of you, to put her feelings first rather than your own” Hertzog praised

Asen laughed shyly, rubbing the back of his head “It’s a shame most men my age don’t..” He sighed

“Oh to be in love~” Hertzog hummed, mixing all the contents in the bowl together to create a thick batter

“Were you ever in love..?” Asen asked curiously

“Mmm...I’m sure in my youth I’ve dated here and there, but I never found a lover with such a strong bond..” Hertzog explained

“That’s so sad..” Asen softened, looking towards the professor sympathetically

“Not necessarily, I never found an interest in love, When I was a boy, probably no older than you are now, I got drafted for World war II,-” He started

“The war..” Asen chimed

“Exactly, the war was brutal, it took all our strength to keep each other in line and protect mother Russia...There was no time for love. After the war was declared over, I spent years, healing, trying to find myself, I dated here and there, but nothing fascinated me as much as my research, Love simply wasn’t ideal in my life...When I learned about the Hybrids, and how many children left abandoned, and slain, just because of their dragon powers, I knew then, that this was my passion..” Hertzog explained, Asen just listened intently as he worked on cutting fruits for serving

“Asen, you and your sister weren’t the first children here, you know that but you’re the first who gave me the love I didn’t deserve, you two are probably the closest thing to family I could ever ask for, I see you and Renata as my own daughter and son...And I couldn’t be more proud...” Hertzog placed a hand on Asen’s shoulder, softening a bit, Asen found himself smiling.

“I-I’m glad I can make you proud...I see you like family too..” Asen spoke, Hertzog looked to him with a pained smile

“My boy, You shouldn’t worry about what’s to become of me... you’re nearly grown! You need to focus on the important things,”

“But you are important to me..” Asen protested

“And I’m honored, but I’m talking about you looking after your sister, your friends, being happy and in love, You should live your life with pride! And acknowledge the happy lad you became” Hertzog explained,

“I for one am so proud of you,” He spoke again

“Thank you, Professor...” He softened and gave a small smile, the two fell in silence, working on breakfast. After a few moments, Hertzog piped up

“Now where is your sister? She’s usually here by now,” Hertzog scanned the Hall for her

“Do you want me to fetch her?” Asen asked

“Please, she probably slept in” Hertzog stated, dismissing him

Asen nods and headed out, putting on his coat before reaching for the door,

“Hey, Asen,” Hertzog called

“Yeah?” He adjusted his coat before looking back towards the older Russian

“You know I love you, right?” He spoke

Asen let out a small smile, nodding his head

“I love you too, Oppai” He muttered back. Hertzog gave a small smile and turned back towards the kitchen, and Asen headed off to search for Renata.

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