Chasing the Horizon

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Konnor had been longing for and dreading this day. The day Dax came to Seslin for the wedding. His father told the servants everything they needed to do and he was kept out of the entire process. He figured his father was probably afraid that he’d try to slow down the preparations or something. But he wouldn’t, he needed to see Dax again. He needed to tell him about their baby. He’d been kept inside for the last two weeks, with the only visitors allowed in being Timothy and Dr Grenault. His father kept saying that it was for his own good, but Konnor knew that it was really just for his father’s own good. The baby was just starting to show and he knew that his father wanted to have this whole wedding over and done with before people saw that he was pregnant. He just wished he had been able to go see Dax before today. He felt so bad not being able to tell Dax when he’d known for two whole weeks.

He went to the library on the far side of the castle, the large, arching windows had a perfect view of their airship dock, making it the best place to wait. By the early afternoon, Konnor saw the Toeaux airship arrive. He immediately smiled, knowing that Dax was aboard the ship. He waited in the library longer, he knew his father would make him wait until the ceremony. Even though there was a feast tonight, it was a Seslin tradition for the bride to not see the groom at all before the wedding ceremony. Besides that, he wasn’t quite ready to go out and greet Dax. He had to talk to Dax at just the right moment. He’d been thinking over and over what he would say to Dax, but he knew it would never be enough, it just wasn’t that easy.

As Dax and his soldiers disembarked their vessel, Konnor hastily left the library. He knew that he couldn’t really be seen from the dock through this window on the second floor, but he didn’t want to risk it. He went back to his room, shutting the door behind him. He couldn’t keep from pacing the floor, would he be able to say any of the things he wanted to when he actually saw Dax? He seriously doubted it. He was scared that when he saw him, his growing baby bump would speak for him before he could actually say anything to Dax. He was already dressed in a loose tuxedo shirt for the wedding, he hoped that it would be enough to cover his swollen belly.

He took a deep breath, he had to go out there and find Dax before the ceremony. He left his room, heading to a window at the end of the hall. He could see everything in front of the castle from here. He saw the group of Toeaux soldiers and Saria standing with them, but he couldn’t see Dax anymore. If he wasn’t with them, then where was he? He couldn’t wait until the wedding to see Dax again, it just wouldn’t be fair to Dax.

Movement in the upper right side of his vision caught his attention. He pressed the side of his face against the glass window, trying to see clearly. There was someone on the terrace. He squinted, he could just make out tanned skin and dark hair. Dax.

He ran down the halls, running all the way to the terrace. His heart nearly stopped when he saw Dax step up onto the railing. “Dax! Don’t!” Without thinking, Konnor ran forward, reaching up to wrap his arms around Dax’s waist and pulled him backwards. He moved too fast and lost his footing on the granite tiles of the terrace, causing them both to fall back onto the hard floor with Dax landing right on top of Konnor.

Dax immediately rolled off of Konnor and stayed sitting on the floor next to him. Konnor’s eyes were closed and he was still trying to breathe again, but he could feel Dax’s intense glare on him. “What are you doing here? Why are you dressed like that?”

Konnor was having a hard enough time getting his breath back to function, let alone enough to actually respond to Dax’s questions. Konnor’s entire back hurt from colliding with the floor, it was all he could do to roll onto his side. He did his best to push himself up into a sitting position, but he was still bent forward with an arm over his stomach. He really hoped that their baby wouldn’t be hurt.

He kept his head down, avoiding eye contact with Dax. When he finally felt like he could speak again, he said, “I’m dressed like this because... tomorrow is my wedding day.”

When Dax remained silent, he looked up, seeing the complete shock on Dax’s face. Tears started to roll down Konnor’s cheeks, this is nothing like he thought seeing Dax again would go. “I’m sorry... I wasn’t there for you when you were hurt protecting me and I’m sorry. My father’s been keeping my locked up here, but I should’ve done something. I failed you.”

“No...” Dax backed away from Konnor, standing up. He looked down at him as he said, “You can’t be Konnor. Who are you?”

He tried to wipe his eyes to stop the tears from coming but it didn’t work. He only sat there, looking down, tears falling harder. “I’m sorry... I should’ve told you who I was. This is me, Konnor Tendarian, Prince of Seslin.”

“You lied to me,” Dax mumbled quietly, still staring down at Konnor. He kept starting to reach out but ended up making no move to comfort the redhead.

Konnor hunched his shoulders, Dax’s words stung. He knew he was right, he just didn’t want to admit it. “I should’ve told you...” he hung his head forward, looking at the ground. He just wanted to shrink away. “But I was scared. I didn’t want it to push you away because I knew that you were running away from this arranged marriage and I’m sorry but you still mean everything to me and I can’t... I need you.”

Dax shook his head, walking forward and practically stepping over Konnor. Konnor was frozen for a second, he couldn’t let Dax go, not like this. He struggled to stand up quickly and ran up to Dax, grabbing him by the arm. “Please...” Dax paused, looking back over his shoulder at Konnor. Konnor looked at him with pleading in his eyes, “Please stay, there’s something else I need to tell you.”

Dax jerked his arm away, keeping his back turned as he said, “There’s nothing left I want to hear from you.”

“Dax, please, this is important,” desperation was seeping through Konnor’s voice. His words didn’t seem to have any effect on Dax though, he kept walking across the terrace, not even acknowledging Konnor. He couldn’t let him leave, he just couldn’t. He bit his lip, swallowing, this wasn’t how he wanted to tell Dax, but he had to say something or he’d never be able to tell Dax. He called after him right as Dax got to the entrance to the hall, “I’m pregnant.”

Dax stopped mid step. He turned around in the doorway, narrowing his eyes at Konnor. Still he didn’t say anything, so Konnor straightened up, saying again, “I’m an omega and I’m having your baby.”

Dax slowly shook his head, eyes wide, mouth slightly agape. “That can’t be possible...”

Konnor dropped his gaze to the floor, his shoulders sagging slightly. He had hoped that Dax would be at least a little bit excited. His voice was quiet as he said, “You don’t have to be a part of their life if you don’t want to be... but I thought you deserved to know. I don’t want to hide things from you anymore.”

A long silence hung in the air. Konnor squeezed his eyes shut, he couldn’t stand the silence. He should’ve known that Dax would think of him as a freak just like his father did. He didn’t want to cry again, but the tears that streamed out of his eyes and down his cheeks wouldn’t listen to him.

Konnor opened his eyes again. He was alone. He wanted to believe that it was just his tears blinding his sight. But he knew that wasn’t the case. Dax was pushing him away again and he just couldn’t take it.

He collapsed to the floor, sitting on his knees and staring at the empty entryway in front of him. Slowly, he brought his knees up to his chest and hung his head on his knees. He couldn’t stop the tears in his eyes. His shoulders shook as he cried harder.

Dax was walking around the castle, long after the feast had ended. Konnor hadn’t been at the feast, and he had to wonder if he’d just imagined seeing Konnor at all. But Timothy had been at the feast. Dax hadn’t expected to see him either, but if he was here, then surely Konnor had to be real too.

All through dinner, Dax had been scowling. He didn’t bother to participate in an conversation and only answered with the minimum whenever someone dared to ask him a question. Mostly, everyone seemed quite happy to just leave him out of the conversation.

Saria had been so calm at dinner. Dax was almost surprised by how she was able to smile, talk, and laugh with everyone so easily. She wasn’t sitting close to Timothy at the dinner, but she didn’t seem at all surprised to see him. Could she have known who Timothy and Konnor really were?

He didn’t know what to think. He’d been pledging his heart to Konnor for the last two months. Now that he finally got Konnor back, all he’d done was push him away. He didn’t mean to be cruel, he just couldn’t believe anything. If Konnor was Prince Tendarian, were his feelings for Dax even real? Was Konnor just trying to get Dax to fall for him? Had King Austeareus planned this to get him to agree to the wedding?

Dax was so lost in his thoughts that he hadn’t been paying attention to where he was going at all. He ended up in a long corridor in an area of the castle he hadn’t been to. There was a large, wooden door at the far end of the corridor. He kept walking towards it. He figured he might as well through it since he couldn’t find his way back.

He slowly opened the door. The room was dark, but there was a little light coming from a gaslamp a little ways above him. He gently shut the door, walking to the edge of the walkway, feeling a railing block the rest of his path. He gripped on the railing, squinting to try to see the rest of the room better.

What he could see were books. Everywhere. He looked beyond the railing and could tell that he was on the second floor and there was a long ways to the ground of the first floor below.

A small sound, someone quietly crying, caught his attention. His gaze darted above him. He found the little handheld gaslamp, it was sitting on the floor of the third floor landing. In the yellow-orange glow it emitted, he could see fiery red hair.

Konnor was curled up against a bookcase, his head against his knees. Even with the little light, Dax could see Konnor’s shoulders shaking. This was his fault, wasn’t it? A door above him creaked open and Dax immediately stepped back from the railing, hiding in the shadows. He could hear two sets of footsteps.

Konnor looked up, smiling through his tears at the people walking in, “I hope you enjoyed the feast.”

The light of the gaslamp flickered as Timothy and Saria sat down on either side of Konnor. Timothy rested his hand on Konnor’s shoulder, “What happened?”

Konnor shook his head, scrunching his shoulders up more. “I talked to Dax earlier.” He kept looking at the floor in front of him. “I was right, he hates me.”

“Daxi just doesn’t know what’s good for him,” Saria clicked her tongue, “He needs a nudge to realize what he should do. I’ll talk to him.”

Konnor shook his head again, “No. I can’t make him forgive me, and I don’t want to force him to.”

“He shouldn’t be so angry,” Timothy’s tone was dry and jaded, “You didn’t do anything you should apologize for.”

“I should’ve told him before he came here,” Saria let out a long sigh. Dax raised his brow. If she knew, she definitely should’ve told him who Konnor was. Right when they were leaving Toeaux, he remembered she was going to tell him something about Konnor but she never got the chance to say it.

“I asked you not to,” Konnor turned his gaze to Saria, “Thanks for keeping that promise.”

“He’ll calm down, I’m sure of it,” Saria’s brow creased.

“Let him be,” Konnor insisted, “It doesn’t matter if he believes me, but I still love him. The thought of seeing him again has kept me going while I’ve been trapped here. Even if he doesn’t love me anymore, I can’t let him go. I want to be with him every day, see that smile on his face. I just wish... he would be smiling because of me.”

Dax’s eyes widened. Those words resonated in him, making his chest feel tight. He brought a hand to rest over his heart, it felt hard to breathe. What was this feeling coming over him? All he knew was that he felt every word Konnor said, and he felt the exact same way about Konnor. He couldn’t let Konnor suffer, not when they had the chance to be happy together.

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