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Author Topic: It's the Hap-Happiest Time of the Year  (Read 138 times)

Description: tag; BROTHER!

Offline Warren Winters

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    • white2te
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      WrenStar

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It's the Hap-Happiest Time of the Year
« on: Feb 11, 18, 12:51:51 PM »
Warren had mixed feelings about Winsol. On one hand, it was a time of lights and smiles, where there was joy and love and brightly colored decorations all over the place. It was a time of celebration, of positivity. A time to spend with the ones you loved in honor of Witch. Winsol had always been his favorite time of year growing up. It was always the one time where everyone almost forgot that there was something wrong with him. Except for Frederik, who never thought there was something wrong with him... well, back then anyway.

Frederik.. that was what had really made Winsol amazing when he was younger. They'd been so close. Even after things had started to get hard, after Fred just... basically disappeared from his life after their parents died... he was always home for Winsol. And during those days it was like nothing had ever changed. They could be a family again.

Maybe that was also what made Winsol just as difficult as it was comforting. Because of the way things had ended and been left between them. Because they would never have those happy family Winsols ever again...

On top of that, Winsol was a celebration of Witch - which in recent years, and most notably in recent months, had become a murmur of prayer that Warren couldn't help but choke around. It was hard to swallow the indoctrination when a circle of metal bound his throat closed. He couldn't say that he was doing better than when he'd first been collared, but he was surviving, and most days he was stable enough to do his job and smile for his Queen. The only thing keeping him afloat was the Red Jeweled Warlord Prince he curled up next to almost every night, the one that checked in on him while he was working almost as much as he checked in on their Queen. The one who calmed him down when he started to panic, and had made sure that he hadn't lost too much weight. Not once had Raj treated him as cursed, or less, or even broken - which he definitely felt more often than not. He was just... steady, strong support - ready and willing to be there for him and hold him up when he couldn't do it himself. Raj had been teaching him more mediation techniques, and thanks to those and the Warlord Prince's unwavering support - the episodes of panic and despair that Warren had suffered daily immediately after the collaring gradually decreased to only a few times a week.

He wasn't better. He wasn't okay - not with any of it. But he was keeping his head above water. It was draining enough that he was exhausted at the end of every day, but he was able to work and he was able to smile. He was able to flirt and tease and put on the face that his Queen needed to see. It was even genuine. Fake it 'til you make it had been his motto since before he could remember and he'd decided that for his Queen, for Miina, he would make it. That determination carried him, and with Raj's support in the hardest moments - and moreover the validation that came with it - he was able to just.. keep... swimming.

This morning had been a good one. Relaxed, with a late breakfast. Warren had spend the time chatting and laughing with Miina and the others as he passed out a plate he'd made just for them, then took his own seat to eat with them.

And now, people were enjoying a special little Winsol gathering for the whole Court and their families. It was less formal than some of the other functions that Miina would be hosting and attending this season, but the Province Court was large and almost everyone had invited family. Well, except for Warren.

Instead, Warren had spent most of the time in the kitchen, keeping the food coming. Everything was set up buffet style so that people could eat and dance and socialize at their leisure. This was an event for the Court, not of the Court, and everyone was having a wonderful time. Miina had even hired a group of musicians to play, and Warren had spent much of the evening so far enjoying the lively music they played. It gave him a tug of nostalgia, reminding him of when Fred used to play for him when they were younger.

Humming the familiar tune they were just bringing to a close, Warren loaded up a tray of goodies for the musicians and slipped out of the kitchens for the first time that night, intending on bringing them some refreshments to snack on between songs.

He made it within ten feet of them before he recognized the violinist. Then he stopped. Frozen.

Frederik.

Offline Frederik Hjalstad

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Re: It's the Hap-Happiest Time of the Year
« Reply #1 on: Feb 20, 18, 05:18:22 PM »
Frederik Hjalstad was in his element. Wine and conversation flowed around him like a thawing stream in spring, men and women in elegant clothing danced or mingled, and he was playing with three of the finest musicians he'd ever had the pleasure of performing with. The notes drifted from their instruments with harmony sweet and true; the purest sensation Frederik ever experienced in his life. Some found religion in the deep embrace of the Mother's wombs, the deep caverns in the earth with She had provided her chosen children to shelter them; Frederik found it in the whispers and moans of his violin, a more beguiling lover than any flesh and blood creature could possibly be.

With employment by both High Priestess of Ivalo, and now the Province's Queen, their reputations would soar. Society gossips already whispered their names and the group had been approached for more engagements in the coming weeks and months. Some musicians found the need to woo potential patrons exhausting and tedious, and Frederik was no exception. The Prince could be charming if he worked at it, and had gritted his teeth and smiled through far more unpleasant duties in the past, though he tended to leave that miserable duty to others if he could. But tonight, the exultation that only came from good wine, food, and song buoyed his spirit enough fortify him against the sort of mindless chatter it took to brave the criticism and adoration of a Court, from merest maid to most noble Queen.

Frederik hadn't met the Queen herself directly yet, of course. Court functionaries had handled the business of their hire, and though present and entirely attractive to the eye, Lady Kalas remained ensconced in her Court's embrace on the other side of the room. Perhaps they would be presented to her at some point tonight, if all went well. He should like to meet his night's muse source of that delightful, Dark scent that permeated the Court; that called to his soul in inspiration and guided his hands as they danced the bow across his strings with a sense of perfection such as he had never found before. If the experience weren't so thrilling, he might weep for the feeling that he might never play so well again as he did here and now.

With that to compete against, the man approaching initially didn't catch Frederik's attention at all. The warlord was very light-Jeweled and had the sort of young, handsome, earnestness common to the type usually hired to serve at these sort of events. He noticed the man's presence, of course, in a distant sort of way- rather as one might take note of where the furnishings were located in an unfamiliar room, so as to be sat upon or maneuvered around as required. No one he would ever see again.

Except it appeared he would, as the server ventured closer with a tray of savories clearly meant for the quartet once they had finished their current song. A break would be lovely, much though he was enjoying himself- Frederik's bow skipped a beat and screeched across the strings in the most unholy shriek he'd produced since he'd first picked up the instrument as an awkward teenager. The Prince could feel the started and irate glances directed his way (some from his fellow musicians), and for a moment felt irritation rise in himself at both his own incompetence and at the source of the interruption for being so distracting. He carefully breathed through the feeling as his therapist had suggested and the feeling broke, as a wave crashing upon the shore. He certainly felt enough at sea for the metaphor to be accurate, head as muzzy as though he's just inhaled a lungful of water.

"Niki?" Frederik forced himself to move, hands still clenched on his violin as though his grip on the instrument was all that kept him from flying apart. But he had to know, to get a better look at that once-familiar face and lay a ghost to rest. "What are you doing here?" He asked inanely, so far from the questions he really wanted to ask. How are you, where have you been, why did you leave me, are you alright-?

Can you forgive me?

Offline Warren Winters

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Re: It's the Hap-Happiest Time of the Year
« Reply #2 on: Feb 26, 18, 04:11:22 PM »
’Niki?’

How long had it been since someone had called him Niki?

His throat tightened, his heart hammered. Something the size of an orange was wedging itself under his tongue, pushing back into his throat that he might choke on it. There was a dim buzzing in his ears, a white noise of static that jumped to his eyes to make them sting. Oh, maybe that was the tears.

’What are you doing here?’

He blinked. Two tears rolled free and he quickly brushed them away with the back of his free hand - the other still balancing the tray of refreshments for the band. For.. his brother’s band.

What are you doing here? Well. That was a weird question to ask your long-lost brother. But it was also weirdly.. Frederik. Instantly he felt his eyes fill again and he was overcome with the urge to throw the damn tray aside and throw himself at his brother. To wrap his arms around him and cry. To tell him that he was sorry. To beg him not to hate him. To tell him that so many awful things had happened and that he was scared. That he’d thought he’d found himself but apparently he was wrong because everything kept getting worse right when it was supposed to get better. That he had intended on coming back, but after Carter took him.. after what had happened in those months that he was with him… he couldn’t. He was terrified that if he went home he’d get collared and hurt and hated and…

And of anyone in the world, the person it would hurt the most to feel that from was him. And he couldn’t handle it.

“I..” His voice broke and squeaked, then he cleared his throat and shook his head, taking a slow and shaky breath. He sniffed, then rubbed at his eyes again and turned half away with a broken sound that was supposed to be a laugh.

Okay. Maybe today wasn’t as stable a day as he’d thought it was.

“Sorry. Um.” He cleared his throat again. Damnit. Words. He was good at words. At flirting and smiles and diplomacy and words. At masks and making everyone think that he was fine. He was good at this, dammit.

Another slow breath, then another, focusing on the worry and the panic and picturing it as a physical drapery around him that he was pushing down and away with each breath.

He was calmer when he looked back at Frederik a few moments later, though there was still the edge of something that was most definitely panic in his eyes. He wasn’t sure what to say, because there were so many words fighting for release from his tongue. So, he just answered the question.

“I’m the head chef here. I… Lady Miina is my Queen. My Queen, can you believe it?” And before the collar had been locked around his throat those words would have been pure light, a joy gifted from the summer sun itself. There was still the glimmer of light there, but it was mixed with many more complicated things as well. Things that tightened his smile and threaten to make his throat close up again.

“It’s… its so good to hear you play again.”

 

 

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