“Remember when we were kids--“
“Unfortunately, yes. You were not the most obedient child if I remember correctly, Your Highness.” The setting sun threw a red haze around them, the diminishing light making Cirthe’s eyes glitter, the usually warm brown giving way to almost golden hue.
Veran halted, a hand settled on Cirthe’s arm so she too came to a stop beside him. It did not escape his notice how she shifted so that they were no longer touching. He tried not to let that bother him. Too much.
“As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted by my dear childhood friend,” he pressed on, pleased to see a hint of amusement on her face now. “You remember the game we played as children? Even back then you put up such a fuss whenever I asked you to take turn playing the princess in need of rescuing.”
“That’s because playing the princess did not befit me. And I never needed to be rescued.” she replied, breaking into that oh-so-rare smile as she gave him a look. “You, on the other hand....”
“Yes yes, we both know who needed the rescuing often.”
Despite being teased, he could not help but grin. These casual moments were far and few between, their respective duties bounding them too tightly too often to exist simply as the close friends they are. It didn’t help that Cirthe seemed to be distancing herself more and more. Perhaps because the coronation ceremony drew closer by each passing day.
Veran wished time would stop then, with Cirthe’s warm gaze on him making him almost sigh out loud like some love-sick fool, and their hands almost brushing against each other.
“You know, my insistance on you being the princess was merely an attempt on my end to do the protecting for once.” The Prince started, wincing when he noticed the stoic look creeping back on her face. “Not that you needed it! But, well, you always did the same for me. You still do. I just want to return the favor.”
“You don’t need to, Your Hig--“
“Oh for Gods’ sake, you can at least call me by my name when it’s just us two! You’re my friend before you’re my personal guard. I wish you wouldn’t just forget that so easily.”
“I....I don’t. I would never forget that. You know I would never.”
She looked concerned but anything was better than her aloof stance towards him. And if he was being truly honest, her being concerned over him did please him. Just a bit really.
He contemplated sulking for a bit longer, just to make the most of her relaxed and casual state when she turned to look at him, really look at him, eyes locked with his own and the distance between them closed just slightly. Veran swore he could almost smell the sun on her skin, warm and flushed by the heat.
“Veran.” She murmured, like it was a secret and not just his plain name, voice soft but clear. He almost raised his hand to trace the mouth forming the simple word, barely catching himself from doing it. He wondered how would she react with his fingertip tracing the supple skin of her lips, dry from the warm weather but still hooking his attention too often.
Perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea. He really hoped the warmth on his face was from the heat of the morning sun and not the blush that seemed to be spreading to the tips of his ears. Gods, it was just a name.
“I hope you will stop sulking now--“
“I do not sulk!”
“That was definitely a pout I saw earlier unless I saw wrong.”
“I think my guard needs to get her eyesight checked.”
“I thought we were talking as friends.”
“...I think I still need to complete some paperwork back at my workroom.”
He had to think of better excuses next time. But he didn’t particularly mind the laughter that rang after him. It wasn’t a sound he would ever get tired of. Even his embarrassment was worth it. He power walked his way away from her, head fuzzy and light.