Before the Storm
The sun’s bright morning light on his face woke up Dax. He slowly opened up his eyes, squinting against the morning glare. His chest was heavy and he knew that Konnor was still laying on him. He smiled to himself, running his fingers through the redhead’s hair. That seemed to be all it took to make Konnor stir.
Konnor lifted his head up, turning to look at Dax. “Morning.” He dropped his gaze slightly, adding, “Sorry I fell asleep on you.”
Dax smiled, shaking his head a little. He brought his hand up to rest on the back of Konnor’s head, pulling his face down to meet his, kissing him gently.
Konnor blushed ever so slightly and Dax could only smile at that. “Don’t worry.” He pulled on his shirt and picked up Konnor’s clothes that they’d discarded last night. He handed them to Konnor, helping him get dressed. He moved to stand up, extending his hand down to Konnor. “Let’s get back to the ship and have breakfast.”
Konnor nodded and took Dax’s hand, standing up with him. Dax didn’t let go of Konnor’s hand as they walked back to the other side of the island where his ship and the crew were waiting for them. Dax didn’t want to let Konnor get out of his sight. He hadn’t meant to stay at the Forest of Lights all night. They were already risking it coming so close back to Toeaux, staying any longer than they already had would be too risky.
As soon as they were back on the ship, Dax spoke to his crew, “Get this ship ready to leave, we need to get to Furhan today.” If they left right away, there might be a chance that no one had spotted them yet and they could still get away without his father’s army finding them. He looked back at Konnor, a half smile on his face as if nothing was wrong. Konnor’s eyebrows knitted together slightly, something still felt off.
Dax brought Konnor into the kitchen, they were alone with the rest of the crew making the ship sail. Konnor gave Dax’s hand a gentle squeeze and smiled at him, “I can make us something.”
Dax looked back at him, eyebrows slightly raised. He half smiled, “You can cook?”
He just shrugged in return, “I’ve been shown how to make a few things.”
“Then let’s see what you can do.” Dax let go of Konnor’s hand and stepped back. He watched the redhead go through the food that they still had on board and start to put things together. Konnor definitely looked like he knew what he was doing and he could cook more than just being shown a few things. But Dax wasn’t going to say anything about it, he didn’t know his way around a kitchen himself.
It didn’t take too long before Konnor set down two plates on the table. Dax looked at the breakfast that Konnor had made, never had omelettes looked so delicious before. “Looks delicious.” He caught a glimpse of Konnor’s blushing cheeks before he turned his face away. He smiled at Konnor, pulling a chair out for him and sitting Konnor down in it, he couldn’t help but notice that Konnor blushed even more at that. He sat down across from Konnor, “I think you know how to cook more than you let on.”
He shrugged, looking down at the plate, picking up his fork. “I’ve had a lot of time to learn I guess, I didn’t have much to do growing up so I did a lot of different things.”
Dax narrowed his eyes at him, there was more that Konnor wasn’t telling him. He didn’t say anything else about it though, he just picked up a fork and tried the food that Konnor made. Sure enough, it tasted delicious too. He leaned closer to Konnor, looking closely at his face. “Tastes really good too.” Just as Dax thought, Konnor’s face lit up a bright red. Dax couldn’t help it, he just loved to see the redhead blush, it was too cute. He wanted to always remember that sweet and innocent expression.
They continued to eat breakfast in silence with Dax staring at Konnor most of the time. He could tell it was making Konnor embarrassed and making the redhead blush more, but Dax just wanted to remember every detail. Especially in the event that his plan to steal back the Toeaux ship from the Kirinalli failed or if his father catches up to them and takes him away from Konnor.
Dax pushed his plate to the side when he was done and reached out to rest a hand on Konnor’s cheek. Konnor was surprised by the action and stopped eating, swallowing his last bite and looking into Dax’s serious, blue eyes. Dax was silent for a long moment, “If something happens and we get separated, never forget me, okay?”
Konnor stared up at him for a long moment, his brow knitted together. He slowly nodded, locking eyes with the taller boy, “Of course. I will never forget you.” He paused before adding, “But I believe in you. If you plan to get that ship back from the Kirinalli, then I believe you will be able to do it.”
Dax smiled at that, he just needed to make sure Konnor would remember him. He didn’t want to worry Konnor, but he knew their time together wouldn’t stay happy like this. He sat back, pulling his hand away from Konnor’s cheek. He went back to sitting there and looking at him. “I’m glad you believe that. I plan to fight for this with all I have. It’s nice to know at least one person thinks I’ll make it out alive.”
The kitchen door slowly creaked open, the one soldier who had seemed hesitant to leave Toeaux with him poked his head through. “S-sorry... Prince Austeareus... T-the crew needs to speak with you for a moment.”
It was a minute before Dax took his eyes away from Konnor. He looked over to the short man. The man was weak, overly apologetic and a complete pushover, Dax couldn’t figure out why he let the wimp stay with him as part of the crew. He stood up without a word, going to the kitchen door, opening it wide.
The man shrunk back, “S-sorry...”
Dax rolled his eyes and walked through the door, shutting it behind him. He got the feeling that Konnor would be best left out of this conversation. All of his crew was standing around the deck, looking at him. Even Saria was amongst them. At least Timothy was nowhere to be seen. He surveyed all of them. “What is it?”
No one wanted to stand up, they all stood still, only looking at Dax. Dax gave them all a dirty look and finally Saria stepped forward. “Daxi... two ships have been sighted.” She took a breath before saying, “The Kirinalli ship in the west and one of your father’s ships in the east. Both of them are flying directly for us.”
Dax didn’t like the sound of their odds. They needed to fight with the Kirinalli and he wasn’t going to be taken back to Toeaux voluntarily. Dax decided to ignore his father’s ship heading for them. If they could just get the Kirinalli ship back before his father’s ship reached them, then there surely would be no problem. He was planning to return to Toeaux after he got the ship anyways. As long as he got the ship, Toeaux wouldn’t need any political or military assistance from Seslin. He could return to Toeaux with Konnor and no one would care.
He squared off his shoulders, “Head for the Kirinalli, we will board the ship, fight the crew and kill the captain. Prepare to fight.”
The crew started to execute the orders, some of them going below deck to get their small artillery and the others changing the course of the ship for the Kirinalli ship in the west.
Dax pulled Saria aside, “How were we found?” He had an idea, but he had to be sure.
Saria was quiet for a moment, finally saying, “We were spotted by a Toeaux Watchtower and a Royal Scout Ship at the Forest of Lights. The scout ship is the one on its way towards us now. If we don’t go back with them, I’m sure your father will send the armada.”
He shook his head, he knew it was too risky to go there. He should’ve taken Konnor somewhere else. But the amazement and love on Konnor’s face, it was worth it. “We will go back with the scout ship,” Dax said it to ease Saria’s mind, “As long as we get the Kirinalli ship first.”
Saria gripped onto Dax’s arm, “What if the scout ship gets to us first?”
He took Saria’s hand off him, looking down at her with a sad smile. “I don’t plan on going quietly and I know that my father gave them the order to bring me back no matter what and to use force if necessary.”
“Daxi!” She looked up at him, eyes starting to tear up. She shoved her hands against his chest, using all the strength she had to push him back. “Don’t be so reckless with your own life.”
He looked at her for a moment, a little surprised that she actually pushed him and that she actually had enough power to move him. The small reasonable part of him knew that she was right and he shouldn’t step up to a fight with his own soldiers so quickly. But that reasonable part of him was never going to win out. He would not let his father dictate his life and if that meant he had to fight with his own soldiers, then so be it. He wouldn’t be sold some Seslin prince when he had Konnor. He would never do what his father wanted, out of the principle of it all.
The member of the crew currently manning the helm called out, “We’re officially sailing in Wasteland skies. Ten minutes away from the Kirinalli ship.”
He left the crew and Saria behind, trusting them to head right for the Kirinalli ship. He went to the kitchen, walking back inside to find Konnor standing over the sink cleaning up after their breakfast. Konnor looked up at him, setting down the dish he was cleaning. “Dax... what’s going on?”
He could hear the concern edging Konnor’s voice. Dax walked up to him, resting a hand over Konnor’s, “We’re about to fight the Kirinalli.”
Before Dax could say anything else, Konnor spoke, “I want to fight with you this time.” His brow was creased, his expression and tone completely serious.
Dax wished that Konnor didn’t want to be there with him. Konnor may be showing Dax that he could do a lot of different things, but Dax was not about to put him in a fight where he could die. “Have you forgotten? I have a job here that I need you to do.”
Konnor looked down, nodding slightly. Dax reached out to take hold of Konnor’s arm and pulled him onto the main deck, “We don’t have much time, so I need you to take your place too.”
“Yes,” Konnor looked back up and into Dax’s eyes. Dax couldn’t tell if Konnor was disappointed or worried. He just made a promise to himself to come back to the redhead no matter what.
“I’ll get the ship and we’ll go back to Toeaux,” Dax rested a hand on Konnor’s shoulder, “Everything will be fine.”
Konnor was still tense for a moment and Dax knew that he didn’t believe him, but he wasn’t going to say anything else. After a moment, Konnor let out a sigh and forced himself to smile, “We’ll still be together, right?”
Dax was quiet for a moment. He couldn’t make that guarantee. He didn’t know how prepared they were to fight the Kirinalli. He would fight tooth and nail to get back to Konnor if that’s what it took. Still, he nodded, saying, “Always.” Even if the Kirinalli captured him or worse, or if his father took him away from Konnor, Dax wasn’t going to just let go of him and forget him. He definitely wasn’t going to replace him either. “I’ll always love you.”