The Story Continues

Chocolate Moments – Part 6

It was a reasonable hour of the morning when Hamza finally stepped out of his room. He had been awake since he kicked Macerio out of their room, but he lingered there for a while, simply to give the youngsters the peace they needed to get themselves sorted. His presence wasn’t needed and, well, he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from teasing the living daylights out of anyone he should stumble across.

Macerio always had the best reactions.

Besides, he was more than certain Lynus had already rounded them up and gave them all a pep-talk. Which, in turn, was perfect for him as it allowed him to ready himself for his own plans he had for the day.

The teasing could wait until tomorrow morning when he returned.

As he stepped out into the hallway, he glanced up the stairs to where a certain room was located and found the door to said room was closed. Most likely locked. Hamza couldn’t help but chuckle to himself. He didn’t need to check up on Axel and Lynus. On a day like today, it was best if the two were left alone.

It would be interesting to see how the two of them look the next morning, though. But, alas, he probably won’t be able to witness it himself. Matron would just have to tell him everything later. Ah, but knowing them, they’d be the same as always; affectionate, doting, and at peace with the world.

After ensuring the door to his room was closed, Hamza decided to visit the tearoom on his way out. To see if anyone was hiding in there. And to check up on Chi-hung, who would likely laze about in there for the entirety of the day and leave the silly humans to their silly little traditions.

And just as expected, as Hamza stepped into the room he immediately spied Chi-hung lying in front of the fireplace, paws folded in front of him with his chin resting atop them. And next to him, curled into a tight ball and close to the fire to ensure the most warmth was Zanna.

There was no one else in the room, though.

Quietly, Hamza crossed the room and tossed a couple pieces of wood into the fireplace before he turned toward Chi-hung and knelt next to him as he rubbed his ear lightly. “Ah, let them have their peace for the day,” he said simply as Chi-hung lazily lifted his head up. “Tomorrow we’ll shower you with affection.”

Chi-hung purred softly before he happily placed his head upon his folded paws. Zanna made a small purring sound herself before she curled herself tighter into a ball, burrowing her head underneath her paws cutely.

Hamza gave Chi-hung one last pat before he stood to his feet and made his way out of the room and the inn. He allowed his feet to take him to Cedric’s place, a path he had taken many times in the past.

Along the way, he picked up a fresh bouquet of pink lilies, Cedric’s favourite flower.

He rested the lilies against his shoulder as he idly glanced around at his surroundings. He wasn’t at all surprised to find the streets bustling, though there were a lot more explorers and locals rushing about with chocolates and flowers in their grips. It was actually nice to see some of the explorers taking the day off to instead work on their bonds with their chosen partners.

The hospital was sure to be pleased as well.

Although…there was a possibility of other types of accidents occurring because of the theme of the day.

As he walked at a leisurely pace through the central park of Lagaard, he happened to notice a few very familiar faces within the shades of the trees. Though it was the gentle sound of a lute being played that made him focus more on his surroundings. It wasn’t hard for him to spot Lirit, the troubadour was resting at the base of a tree with his lute in his hands. And next to him, his head resting on his shoulder, sprawled out comfortably next to him was Macerio, an open and half-eaten box of chocolates on the other side of Lirit.

Hamza had to admit that he was a little surprised that Macerio had managed to give Lirit the chocolates after all the freaking out he had done during the night. But he felt that Lynus had something to do with it and was pleased to see that their relationship was advancing nonetheless.

Cedric would be thrilled. He had been cheering for Lirit on the sidelines ever since Lirit had admitted to him that he was developing feelings for Macerio.

Taking his gaze from the adorable couple, Hamza found himself looking at another pair. Though they had their backs to him, Hamza was able to recognised Jhon and Tobyn anywhere.

They were sitting on the edge of a water fountain with crystal clear water, Jhon with his arm around Tobyn’s shoulder and holding him against his side. And surprisingly, Tobyn was leaning toward Jhon, his head on his shoulder. Under normal circumstances, the survivalist would shy away from public affection.

A slight movement from the corner of his eye caused Hamza to turn, just in time to see a certain ronin and alchemist walking together. It wasn’t anything unusual to find the two taking walks together, but today, they appeared more…intimidate, for a lack of a better word. They were holding hands; their fingers intertwined together as Magnus wrapped his free arm around Shen’s and curled closer to him. And Shen had his head tilted toward Magnus to rest his cheek upon his blond hair.

Hamza was a little surprised, but pleased nonetheless.

Thank goodness, they seemed to have gotten their act together! All of them! Finally! Cedric would be most pleased.

He couldn’t imagine how much fun the Pinkettes would be having today. It seemed to be going well for everyone.

Even Rahas, it seemed! Though the dark hunter was up a tree on the outskirts of the park, bristling wildly like a feral cat as Simmons sat at the bottom, leaning back against the trunk as he happily munching on a box of chocolates and Kerri seemed to be taunting him slightly with a curl of her robe.

Hamza would have to try to get the full story from Kerri or Gerald later. Ah, but that would have to wait.

Approaching the stairs leading to Cedric’s residence, Hamza rested the lilies against the crook of his elbow and knocked on the door. Normally, he would just walk in, but he wanted to surprise the other man.

A few moments later, the door opened to reveal Cedric, dressed in an apron as if he had been cooking in the kitchen and a slight pout of annoyance on his lips as if bothered that he was being disturbed. However, his expression instantly brightened and a beautiful smile appeared on his lips when he saw the flowers.

“Hamza!” Cedric laughed as Hamza reached out with his free arm to slip around his back and pull the other man toward him, and kissed him on the lips.

Cedric leaned up on his toes to return the kiss before he pulled back. “You silly man, why didn’t you just let yourself in?” he said with a smile as he took the flowers and cradled them in the crook of his arm as he reached out with his other hand to tug Hamza inside.

Hamza shrugged idly as he allowed Cedric to pull him inside and kicked the door shut behind him. “Wanted to surprise you, obviously. Hm, couldn’t help but notice the pout.”

“Someone has been trying to sell brooms to this part of the city for days,” Cedric explained with a huff as he led Hamza into the kitchen and began to look for a vase to place the flowers in. “He’s been annoying the hell out of me.”

“Really now?” Hamza murmured as his eyes narrowed slightly with protectiveness. He made the mental note to have a small chat with this door-to-door seller later.

Heaven help the man actually tried knocking on the door today.

“How are the kiddies?” Cedric asked as he carefully placed the flowers atop of the counter and filled the vase with water. “Did they manage to hand over their chocolates and gifts?”

Hamza leaned his hip against the counter next to Cedric. “Indeed they did. And it seemed that they, for today at least, have managed to get their acts together.”

“Oh good!” Cedric beamed beautifully, just like Hamza thought he would. “That’s the power of chocolate for you. I made you chocolates as well.”

Hamza curled a strand of Cedric’s hair behind his ear. “With alcohol?”

“Of course not,” Cedric replied with an indignant pout. “I used liquor.”

“Ah,” Hamza chuckled before he fell silent and watched as Cedric began to gently place the flowers within the vase and rearrange them, humming softly under his breath as he did so.

He really was beautiful. And to think that he could have lost him…twice.

Wordlessly, Hamza slid up behind Cedric and wrapped his arms around his waist as he rested his chin on his shoulder. Cedric paused in his flower arranging and tilted his head to the side slightly to peer at him from the corner of his eye.

“Hm, you’re affectionate today,” Cedric mused lightly as he leaned back against Hamza’s chest and rested his hand against Hamza’s arms that were folded over his stomach.

“I’m just glad that you are still alive and with me.”

Cedric stilled, his breath hitching softly in his throat as he immediately placed both hands on Hamza’s arms and tilted his head further to the side, to place a chaste, soft kiss to Hamza’s temple.

“I want to go into the labyrinth again,” he unexpectedly said.

Hamza stiffened, his brow furrowing. “Wha-?”

“I want to be a part of that world again,” Cedric said as he twisted himself in Hamza’s arms and turned so that he was now chest to chest with him. He lifted his arms and draped them leisurely over his shoulders as he leaned forward to brush his nose against his. “Of your world.”

“Cedric…” Hamza murmured as his arms encircled Cedric’s waist completely and pulled him closer against him.

“I’ll sing for you again,” Cedric whispered as he rested his forehead against Hamza’s, tilting his head slightly to the side so that his lips would purposely brush against his in an enticing way.

Hamza released a soft sigh before he leaned forward to kiss Cedric, softly and slowly. He unconsciously moved him back so that Cedric’s back touched the side of the kitchen counter. Unexpectedly, Cedric broke the kiss only so that he could reach behind him and prop himself up onto the counter. He then placed his hands on Hamza’s shoulder and tugged him forward toward him.

“I look forward to it,” he whispered before he slipped between Cedric’s legs and his hands slid along his thighs to his hips before he pulled Cedric in for another long, passionate kiss.

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