The Story Continues

A Place to Rest

It was about eleven pm at night when Cedric heard the front door open and softly closed. Sitting up in bed, he wasn’t alarmed when he heard footsteps heading toward his bedroom. He knew immediately who would be in his residence so late at night. A frown tugged at his lips nonetheless.

Even though he wasn’t alarmed, he was concerned. Hamza wasn’t the type to enter his place in the middle of the night. Not without reason.

Slipping his legs from beneath the blankets and placing his feet upon the floor, Cedric reached over to pick up a woollen cardigan and wrapped it around his shoulders as he took to his feet. He slipped his arms into the sleeves as he walked over to his bedroom door. When he opened it, he found Hamza standing on the other side, an expression of contemplation on his face as he stared at the ground.

“Hamza?” Cedric asked as a sense of fear washed over him when he realised that the war magus was in his explorer gear. A late night jaunt into the labyrinth was never a good thing. Something must have happened.

Lifting his gaze from the floor, Hamza looked over at Cedric and offered him a tight smile. “Sorry,” he murmured. “Did I wake you?”

Cedric shook his head as he approached Hamza, stopping right in front of him, mere inches apart. “What’s wrong?” he asked with a frown as he lifted his hand to gently touch the side of Hamza’s face. “Did something happen?”

“Hm?” Hamza murmured as he subconsciously leaded into his hand. “Everyone is safe.”

Thank goodness every one of the Guardian Guild was safe. So then, why-?

“It’s…we happened across a rookie guild that had more enthusiasm than sense,” Hamza continued, his tone taking on a bitter edge to it. His hand, though, was tender as he placed it over Cedric’s.

Cedric drew in a sharp breath. Oh…Oh, dear. The memories were sure to return tonight, then.

“They didn’t make it?” Cedric asked softly.

Hamza tightened his hold on Cedric’s hand. “No. None.”

Cedric allowed Hamza to pull his hand away from his face and to entwine their fingers together tightly. “Who else saw this?”

“Not the younger ones, thankfully,” Hamza said before releasing a loud sigh and shook his head. “But Lynus did, I’m afraid. He took it badly. No surprise, but I think it was due more from memories.”

Cedric nodded his head idly. He did not know of Lynus’ past. Not the full details, anyway. It was a rather taboo subject amongst the Guardian Guild and he knew better than to ask. But he did know that his past was horrific on the gentle-hearted medic.

“You’re exhausted,” Cedric said as he gave Hamza’s hand a gentle, reassuring squeeze. “Stay here for the night.”

“Hm,” Hamza simply murmured.

Cedric tugged on their joined hands, attempting to pull Hamza into his bedroom when Hamza suddenly reached out to him and tugged him close, burying his face within the crook of his neck. Cedric was surprised for only a moment before sighing and wrapping his arms around the other, hugging him tightly.

After a few moments of simply holding each other, Cedric made the motion to pull back, silently stepping out of Hamza’s arms. He, however, immediately reached for his hand to hold once more and guided him into the bedroom. Once inside, they silently moved about, Cedric helping Hamza to shrug off his explorer gear and equipment. He then slipped on a set of clothing he kept at Cedric’s place for such occasions, and unceremoniously dropped himself onto the bed. He laid on his back, his head against the pillows.

Cedric crawled onto the bed next to him, but he stayed sitting upright, his legs folded beneath him. He leaned over Hamza slightly, using one hand to support himself while the other gently toyed with Hamza’s hair in a soothing manner.

Silently, Hamza lifted his arm and threaded his fingers though Cedric’s hair, gently massaging his scalp before coming to a rest against the back of his head. He then gently pulled him down toward him. Cedric placed a hand against Hamza’s chest to support himself as their lips grazed against each other’s. Hamza then lifted his chin to press their lips firmly together.

It was a tired, lazy kiss, but it was enough to reassure the war magus that Cedric was indeed still alive. With his voice and lungs still on the mend, allowing Hamza to find comfort in his touch and physical presence was all he could offer the other man.

One day, though, he would sing for him again.

After one last lingering caress, Cedric pulled back and gently placed a finger against Hamza’s lips. “Get some rest. I’ll be here in the morning.”

Hamza gave him a small smile as he nodded his head before tugging Cedric toward him against, curling an arm around his shoulders in order to pull the troubadour onto the bed next to him and nestling him against his side.

Cedric rested his cheek against Hamza’s chest and draped his arm casually over his torso. He waited and listened for Hamza’s breathing to even out, signalling to him that he had finally fallen asleep. Only then, when he was sure that Hamza was sleeping peacefully did he allow himself to fall asleep as well.

In the morning, Hamza would take on the role of leader once more and counsel his guildmates who had witnessed the terrible sight of young adventurers being taken before their time. But now, he was simply a man needing comfort of his own.

And Cedric would always be here for him, waiting for him.


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