Nights and the Sun

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Chapter 11

Sparks stands with Colin in the kitchen. The heat comforts him. The smell arousing his stomach. It growls commandingly. Demanding the food roasting around it. Through the crackle of fire and cooking food Sparks can hear whispers. The whispers of the forbidden lovers as they hide within the confines of one of the kitchen's many pantries. They have been hiding there, and in other places strewn about the castle and fields, for over a year. Ever since the King's order. Sparks or Colin, or both, are always around somewhere during their rendezvous. Markers for their presence. Though none of the nobles notice this. Nor did any guards going to check that Cassidy is obeying his father's wishes. They are turned away by Colin using some excuse or another. Or by Sparks,who just glares and flashes his eyes at them. A threat by their standards.

"They are good together aren't they?" Colin asks Sparks suddenly. His voice is respectfully low. Respectfully not only for the couple bu for his own conversation with the other inhabitant of the room. Sparks hums as his stomach growls. Opposite reactions for different things. Colin glances over at him from the corner of his eye. His golden hazel eyes reflect the light of the fire. He hums in response to Sparks' hum, prompting further elaboration. Sparks rolls his eyes.

"They are happy. Cassidy is happy. That is all that matters," is Sparks' full answer. His voice is as soft as Colin's, though rougher. Bitter, almost. Colin shoots his friend a pitying smile before turning his attention back to the stew he is making. He stirs it gently a few times. He frowns.

"Sparks can you increase the heat a little?" The only reply given to the request is the flames growing bellow the pot. Colin smiles and giggles.

"Thanks." Sparks hums in answer again. The previous silence returns. It persists this time. The fire's steady crackle, the simmering of the pot, the rumbling of the half elemental's stomach. They work on in this silence. Well, Colin works. Sparks stands around soaking in the heat.

"Food?" Colin wonders. He pours some of the stew into a bowl. He hands the bowl to Sparks who takes it and begins to eat it madly. The fire elemental smiles at his friend. He hums in appreciation. Colin smiles back at him.

Sparks walks across the dew soaked grass. He winces as water splashes against his bare feet with his every step. The feeling unusual and uncomfortable to him. He sighs. His breath coming out in a brief gasp of steam. It is too early for anyone to be awake. The sun has barely begun to show itself in the sky. It rises above the mountains every day, shinning upon the Kingdom after the Empire has tasted of its life-giving warmth. Sparks sits at the edge of the water, staring into the clear, still pool. He slides his feet forward slowly. They pause just at the ledge. He debates with himself, glancing between his bare feet and the element that opposes him. He swears beneath his breath. Emitting another blast of steam into the morning air. He slips his feet into the cool liquid. A hiss escapes him at the shock of cold.

"Sparks?" Aquanious' questioning voice floats up from the water. "You are here early. Where is your little princeling? Is everything alright?" Sparks leans back onto the soft grass and closes his eyes. The water elemental emerges from his element and looks down at the resting fire elemental. Sparks groans and kicks at his friend, sending a cascade of water flying towards him. Aquanious doesn't blink as his element passes over him harmlessly. He steps forward and kneels down beside the younger. He passes a hand over Sparks' face, a frown marring his features.

"Sparks. You are starting to worry me with your current behavior," he whispers. Sparks reaches up and bats at Aquanious' face. The effort is half hearted at best.

"Spar-"

"I'm just tired Aqui," Sparks interrupts him. Aquanious blinks.

"Then why are you out here and not asleep in your bed?" he asks. Genuinely confused. Sparks lets out yet another sigh. He opens his eyes to stare up at the worry filled sapphire pair above him. He tugs playfully at a strand of Aquanious' hair.

"Not physically tired. I am tired of seeing Cass and Nathalie together all the time. I know it sounds selfish but," he breaks off. Aquanious nods in understanding. He slides away from Sparks, returning to the water. He wraps his hands around the other man's ankles and begins to pull. Sparks starts. He kicks his feet in an attempt to pull them away.

"Relax," is all Aquanious says before giving a harsh tug and pulling Sparks into his lake. The half elemental feels the water surrounding him. Encompassing him in a tight cocoon. He can feel, somehow, that its intention is not to harm but to comfort. He knows, has known, that Aquanious would never hurt him. Sparks submits to the other elemental. He tilts his head back and opens his mouth.

He gulps in mouthfuls of air when he resurfaces. He stares up at the treetops just now beginning to be touched by the rays of sun. The water moves around and against him. It is soothing even as the fire inside him cowers with every push. His mind begins to wander. It turns to thoughts of Cassidy. Baby Cassidy. Young Cassidy. Cassidy playing with Sparks and Cassidy playing with Colin. Those thoughts quickly turn to Cassidy now. Strong, independent Cassidy. Cassidy with Nathalie. Sparks tenses. Aquanious coils protectively around Sparks. He brushes partially formed lips against the others ear.

"Forget about them. If only for one moment. If only for now. Focus on me. Focus on nothing. Just do not think of them," the water elemental commands. Sparks' eyes slip shut again. He relinquishes everything to the force of the water. Aquanious rocks him gently within the arms of his element. He knows this peace will not last long but he finds comfort in being able to provide it for his friend for even a short time.

The sun shines down the fire elemental encompassed by his opposing element. The warmth brought on by the sun's beams radiate through the Sparks' body and through the unending the movement the water. It feeds him, giving him the first semblance of nourishment he has had all day. Birds chirp. Calling to each other from across the trees. The leaves rustle as small creatures run along the tree branches. The sky is devoid of clouds that Sparks can derive shapes from, and a strong wind blows through the sky steadily. It is clear and as blue as the water in the lake he is being held in. The sloshing of the water, against the bank and against Sparks himself, provides a beat, a steady rhythm, for the trickling of the creeks to sing to. Sparks knows that he should go back to the castle. Knows that he should not be away from Cassidy for so long. He blinks and shakes his head. Trying to rid himself of the thoughts. Thoughts he had practically promised Aquanious he word keep at bay. They keep coming, however. Sparks tenses. He moves to curl in on himself, even in the water. He wraps his arms tightly around his knees. His position has not changed otherwise because of the other elemental's presence in the blue liquid. Tears begin to fill his eyes. They slip down his fire bathed cheeks. Aquanious manifests. One of his arms is wrapped tightly around his friend. The other is used to bring his hand up to wipe the tears away as they fall.

It is selfish, Sparks knows, to want Cassidy to spend all his time with him. Sparks cannot stop himself. It has only ever been them since the young prince's birth. Even when Colin was there. Even when Aquanious was there. The other two, while good friends to the half elemental, never took away from his time with Cassidy. Cassidy has needed Sparks all his life. Sparks sniffles. Except for now. He has proven that he is capable, more than capable, of taking care of himself. He no longer needs Sparks, Sparks thinks. More tears fall. Harder and faster. What is he if not useless now? But Cassidy keeps him around. Sparks supposes he should be happy with that. That he should be grateful he is able to spend any time with the prince at all. That he knows the prince so well, intimately even. If nothing else, he is still Cassidy's cousin. While he had taught the king to be that blood ties meant little on their own, it is all Sparks has now.

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