Enormous thanks and a dedication are in order for the awesome Laura Scofield for coming up with this idea, Beta-ing this for me and overall helping me to create it! I really hope you like this and have as much fun reading it as I did writing it. (Be warned that this fic get's a little sexy later on.)
Still Here For You
As Dannyl clambered out of the carriage, he couldn't help but feel awed at the Great Library before him – even though he'd visited this place a dozen times before, he was still left impressed by the brilliant stony façade of the ancient cliff face and the giant wooden doors that guarded the entrance.
It's been a while since I last visited this place he thought, smiling with nostalgia as he walked towards the smaller door set into the larger ones. As he stepped over the threshold, he was greeted by a familiar man with thin white hair.
"Lord Dannyl!" Irand cried, smiling as he took the magician's hand and shook it warmly. "You're finally back."
"Yes, I am," Dannyl smiled. "It's good to see you again, my friend. How have things been here?"
"Ah, same as ever," the elderly librarian shrugged. "Nothing much has changed. How did things go in Kyralia – no problems, I hope."
"It was fine," Dannyl replied. "The High Lord just wanted a progress report on our research." He paused and glanced around. "Is Tayend here?"
Irand chuckled softly. "Yes, he's here. You'll find him in the usual study room."
"Thank you," Dannyl smiled, then headed off in search of his assistant.
He created a globe light and sent it ahead to illuminate the path beyond, walking quickly between the enormous, book-stacked shelves. He got lost at one stage and had to double-back and retrace his steps before he found the right way. Although he'd grown accustomed to navigating the Great Library's labyrinthine interior when he and Tayend were conducting their research, after not being here so long it was very easy to lose your bearings – he was pretty certain that even Tayend might have got lost in here a few times.
As he thought of the scholar, his heart constricted for a moment. This was the first time he'd seen his friend and lover since their travels in the mountains of Elyne. Dannyl gulped – he'd not slept with Tayend since then either.
As memories of the event returned, he felt a wave of embarrassment and bashfulness, but this was quickly replaced by a thrill of giddiness and exhilaration as he remembered the sense of relief after finally being able to accept his true nature, as well as how content he had felt lying beside Tayend after their first time together. He allowed himself a small smile at the memory, but once again a feeling of dread gnawed at his resolve – what would Tayend make of him now that he had returned to Elyne?
Eventually, he found the private study room that he and Tayend had usually used. Dannyl stopped outside the door and was about to open it but hesitated, his hand hovering over the door handle for a few moments before he let it slip back to his side. His heart was hammering against his ribs and he felt a mix of anticipation and worry churn sickeningly in his stomach. Part of him was desperately eager to see the scholar again, couldn't wait to throw his arms around him and tell him how much he missed him.
However, another part of him was full of dread and anxiety. Doubts spiralled around his head – did Tayend really love him, and was he prepared for a relationship with him? Had Tayend only used him at Armje to get what he wanted, and now that he was satisfied he would want nothing more to do with him?
Stop it he scolded himself. Tayend wouldn't do that to me – he loves me.
But did he? It was clear that Tayend was popular with other men at the Elyne Court and had had many other lovers in the past, so maybe he only told Dannyl he loved him in order to have his way with him. Maybe Dannyl had blindly stumbled into his trap, naively believing that Tayend actually loved him and convincing himself that he loved the scholar in return. Maybe-
Enough! Dannyl's mind shouted. He rubbed his temples and sighed deeply.
He was just being paranoid and stupid. Tayend might have had other lovers before but that didn't mean he was promiscuous. Besides, he'd spent enough time with him when researching Akkarin's quest for ancient magic to know Tayend's character well enough to know that he was a kind, decent man. And if Tayend had changed his mind about his feelings for the magician, he would make sure he dealt with it in a gentle manner.
I'm going to face him sooner or later Dannyl decided, gritting his teeth and twisting the door handle.
The study looked the same as ever – small, but not too small, with lanterns and candles scattered about the place to illuminate it, a large desk against one wall with two chairs beside it, a couch and two book-laden shelves on the opposite wall. Dannyl's heart lurched and flip-flopped inside his chest when his eyes alighted on Tayend.
He was sitting at the desk pouring over a thick, dusty tome, but his eyes weren't quite focused on the words on the page. A mostly empty bottle of wine and a glass were beside him. He usually wore his strawberry-blond hair tied out of his face, but instead it was loose and spilled over his shoulders. Tayend had also removed his tight-fitting, midnight-blue jacket and had it slung over his chair, leaving him wearing just a light, white linen shirt on his upper body. Dannyl felt a little flicker of desire towards the scholar. He looked good like that; it made him look attractive in a rugged sort of way.
He hadn't seemed to notice that the door had opened, so Dannyl took a step forward and cleared his throat. "Tayend?"
The scholar briefly glanced up to see who had spoken and turned back to his book, then did a double-take and froze at the sight of him. He stared at him for a few seconds before he stood up so abruptly that the chair he was sitting on dragged backwards across the floor with a screech and almost toppled over.
"Dannyl?" Tayend half-breathed, half-squeaked. "Is that you?"
"Who else would it be?" Dannyl laughed.
Tayend paused for a long moment before he chuckled softly and ran a hand through his hair. "You've finally come back, eh?"
"I have," Dannyl nodded, not quite knowing what to say.
"So, what did your High Lord want with you? Did he approve of our research?"
"Well, yes and no," Dannyl shrugged. "He didn't seem as disapproving of our research as I thought he'd be, and he gave no indication that he wanted us to stop, so I suppose we can continue to retrace his steps. He just wanted to look over our notes. He was particularly interested about our discovery of the Chamber of Ultimate Punishment in Armje."
Dannyl felt a cold shiver down his spine as he remembered his near-death experience in that dark, terrifying cave. He was very fortunate that Tayend had been there to save him from an unpleasant end. However, his thoughts drifted away from his brush with death and onto what else had happened at Armje – his realisation that he'd been Healing away his feelings, confessing his love to Tayend, only to end up being very intimate with the scholar-
Noticing the direction his thoughts were taking, he blushed internally and quickly shifted his focus to something else. "I'm sorry I didn't come back sooner. There were a few other matters to attend to at the Guild, and I wanted to see Lord Rothen again. Oh yes, and I had to see Sonea's formal battle against that novice that was bullying her before I left – that's not something you see in the Guild everyday."
"Sonea?" Tayend said, frowning at the name before remembering who it was. "Ah yes, that slum girl turned magician. Hmm, that must have been rather exciting." Despite his words, Tayend didn't sound quite as interested as he made himself out to be – his eyes were fixed on the floor, and he was idly playing with a stand of hair.
A tense uncomfortable silence stretched between them.
"What's wrong, Tayend?" Dannyl asked. "You seem… distracted."
Tayend shrugged, his eyes still averted. "I was just wondering when you were going to come back." He paused. "Or if you'd come back."
"Of course I'd come back," Dannyl replied with a frown. "What do you take me for?"
"I don't know," Tayend said curtly. "I was just thinking that you might not want to be seen with a lad anymore, seeing that it could ruin your reputation as an Ambassador and all. I mean, it wouldn't hurt to reject my company for the sake of your own interests. After all, my feelings don't matter, do they?"
Dannyl was taken aback and felt hurt by his harsh comments. "What's gotten into you?" he murmured, staring at the other man in astonishment.
"You don't know what it's like!" Tayend suddenly shouted, his eyes full of anger and pain. "Do you know how lonely it's been, waiting for someone you love who might not even come back to you? I thought you had forgotten about me!"
"I haven't forgotten about you!" Dannyl yelled back. "You do realise that it takes at least three weeks to travel from Capia to Imadrin, and back again? I came back as fast as I could!"
"Oh you came back, alright," Tayend said tersely. "You came back to tell me you don't love me anymore, didn't you?"
"What?" Dannyl shouted, flabbergasted. "That's rich coming from you!"
"Excuse-me?" Tayend said with outrage.
"I haven't seen you for a whole month, and I came straight here instead of to the Guild House, and this is how you treat me?" His heart contorted as it was stung with anguish. "I guess I was right."
"Right about what?" Tayend enquired.
I thought you didn't want a relationship with me!" Dannyl cried.
"But, I thought you didn't want a relationship with me!" Tayend retorted.
There was a second of awkward silence.
"What?" the both said at the same time.
Neither of them said anything for a few moments, but Dannyl suddenly found himself repressing a grin. He desperately struggled to keep a smile off his face, the action so comical that Tayend burst out laughing. Dannyl couldn't help it and he joined in laughing too.
"But, I thought…!" Dannyl began.
"But I thought that too!" Tayend exclaimed. "I thought that when you came back to Elyne you'd have changed your mind and that it would be too risky to get involved with me, what with all the gossips about. I thought that…" he trailed off and spoke in a softer voice. "I thought you'd go back to the way you were before, repressing your feelings for me. And that you wouldn't love me anymore."
"Really?" Dannyl gaped, then shook his head. "But I would never do that!" He paused and rubbed the back of his head. "I thought that you might have lost interest in me. I thought you might not want to have a relationship with me. And" – he looked down at his feet sheepishly – "I thought that you might just have been using me so you could sleep with me back in Armje."
"But that's absurd!" Tayend cried, taking a step forward and clasping Dannyl by the shoulder. "I do want a relationship with you – I've never felt this way about anyone before."
Dannyl felt himself melt into a puddle of happiness, his heart hammering wildly. "I'm sorry, Tayend," he said sincerely. "I know that you'd never do that to me."
Tayend smiled, reaching forward to wrap his arms around the magician, but his head only reached Dannyl's shoulders due to his great height. Dannyl initially stiffened at the embrace, but quickly wound his arms around the scholar in return and held him close to his chest, feeling a warm sense of contentment settle over him. He'd forgotten how good it felt to hold Tayend so close to him.
Tayend chuckled as he pulled away from Dannyl and held him at arm's length. "What idiots we are!"
"Indeed," Dannyl smirked. "I'm so happy to see you again, Tayend."
Tayend simply smiled, raised both hands to Dannyl's face, and leaned in to press his lips to his mouth.
Dannyl gave a small groan of pleasure as Tayend's tongue scraped against his own, lifting his hands to curl around the back of Tayend's head. They kissed intensely for a few moments before Tayend's fingers slid down to Dannyl's waist to undo the sash of his magician's robe, the garment slowly slipping to the ground with a soft rustle. Dannyl tensed and was thinking of making an objection, but Tayend's kiss overwhelmed him and he became lost in it.
Tayend didn't stop there. He broke the kiss momentarily so he could hastily pull the remaining clothes off the magician, his breath ragged and sharp in his haste. Dannyl felt a cold shudder scuttle over his skin as his clothing was dumped unceremoniously on the floor. It wasn't just that it was chilly in the study room, but because he felt so exposed, so insecure, being naked in front of Tayend. He knew he ought to feel relaxed in the presence of his lover, but the lack of clothes just made him feel anxious and self-conscious, and he had to try hard to repress the urge to cover himself up.
"Tayend, I don't think-" But his words died in his throat as Tayend tugged off his shirt, his eyes alighting on the scholar's bare chest. Heat rose to his cheeks as he became engulfed in desire for the other man, but he quickly dispelled this thought with horrified shame and glanced away. I can't believe I looked at Tayend like that he thought. I feel perverse staring at his body like that, even though I know there's nothing wrong with looking at my lover in that way – it's how I ought to act.
However, his embarrassment was doubled as Tayend's trousers joined the rest of the clothes on the ground, part of him wanting to drink in the scholar's naked body but another part feeling sick with mortification. Tayend smirked and gently guided Dannyl over to the couch, Dannyl sitting awkwardly on the furniture with a slight gasp as Tayend sat himself down so close to him he might as well be on top of him.
Tayend leaned in closer and Dannyl could feel the scholar's warm breath licking his neck. He placed his hands on Dannyl's long legs and gently spread them apart, then ever so slowly brushed his hands up the inside of his thighs. Dannyl's heart pounded harder and harder the higher up Tayend's fingers travelled, his skin tingling under the warmth of Tayend's touch and feeling cold chills dance over his skin. Then Tayend's hands became a bit too daring and Dannyl gasped in alarm and tensed as he felt a stab of cold fear. I can't do this his mind screamed, and he wrenched away from Tayend, panting wildly.
"D-Dannyl?" Tayend stammered, gazing at the magician in concern. "Are you alright?"
Dannyl instinctively shook his head, then regretted it when he saw Tayend's guilty expression.
"I'm sorry," Tayend murmured, hanging his head. "I didn't mean to-"
"You've got nothing to be sorry for," Dannyl cut across, smiling sadly. "It's my fault. You were only acting as any lover would."
Tayend's eyes softened. "We don't have to do this if you want."
Dannyl shook his head quickly. "No, no. I want to do this – I really do. It just…" He gave a deep sigh. "I still feel a little scared and I hate myself for it. I feel like such a damn coward. It's been a long time since the first time we slept together and I've… lost my confidence."
Tayend raised his hand up to touch Dannyl's face. "It's alright, I understand. It's normal to feel nervous – I mean even I was nervous once." He laughed and Dannyl felt a small smile creep up his mouth. Tayend leaned in nearer to the magician and lightly kissed his cheek. Dannyl sighed blissfully and tilted his head so that his lips connected with Tayend's. The scholar soothingly stroking Dannyl's back and running his fingers through his dark hair. Dannyl felt the tension inside him slowly unknot, a sense of ease descending upon him.
What a fool I am he thought. He had nothing to be frightened of. Tayend was a passionate but understanding lover and wouldn't make him do something he didn't want. And he didn't need to worry disappointing Tayend – he knew he wouldn't compare him to other, more skilled lovers or point out his inexperience. Besides, the very fact that Tayend wanted him now was an indication that their first time in Armje hadn't left the scholar unsatisfied.
"Don't worry," Tayend whispered, his lips brushing the edge of his ear. "I'll be gentle with you."
Dannyl shivered again at the sound of his voice, but this time the sensation was because he felt excited instead of afraid. "I know," he replied. Their lips locked together again for a few more moments before Dannyl suddenly tensed and broke the kiss.
"Wait a moment" Dannyl suddenly said, drawing away.
Tayend pulled back, looking sympathetic but a little disappointed. "Dannyl, I won't force you to do this – if you don't feel ready then we can always do this another time."
"It's not that," Dannyl said, a smirk pulling up his lips. "I just wanted to use my magic to create a sound barrier so we won't be, er, disturbed."
Tayend blinked in surprise before he chuckled with delight. "That's a handy little trick, Dannyl. I'm glad my lover is a magician. It certainly makes things …interesting."
Dannyl chuckled and sent out a wave of magic to create a thick sound barrier, then adding a magical lock on the door for extra safety. Grinning, he wrapped his arms around Tayend's slender waist and pulled him towards him. Tayend brushed his soft lips against Dannyl's, poking his tongue into Dannyl's warm mouth, moaning as Dannyl responded by playing with his own tongue.
Tayend's hands greedily travelled over Dannyl's torso and downwards, the magician's muscles shivering in contentment. Tayend smirked and reached round to grasp Dannyl's rear, the magician giving a small start of surprise. Tayend purred with pleasure and kissed the edge of Dannyl's chin, grinning impishly as a blush spread across the magician's cheeks.
He gently pressed Dannyl against the back of the couch and clambered on top of him, straddling the other man and positioning his legs around Dannyl's lap and wrapping his arms around his neck in a loving embrace. Tayend pushed himself closer between Dannyl's legs, and the magician couldn't help but utter a little moan of delight at the sensation of his body rubbing against Tayend's.
Tayend pressed his mouth to Dannyl's neck and kissed it tenderly, the action growing fiercer as he elicited more groans of pleasure from the other man. "Do you love me?" he murmured between kisses, his breath ragged.
"Yes," Dannyl whispered affectionately, knotting his fingers in his lover's red-gold hair. "Yes!"
A few minutes later, Tayend was cuddled up close to Dannyl's wiry body with his head against his shoulder, the magician's arm wrapped around the scholar's waist. They were a little tired and sweaty, but both of them wore grins of satisfaction.
"How was it?" Tayend asked, nuzzling his head up against Dannyl's neck.
"Good," Dannyl answered with a shrug.
"Good?" Tayend echoed in outrage. "All you have to say about my sexual prowess is that it's "good"? My pride is deeply wounded."
Dannyl chuckled and rubbed his nose against Tayend's. "Just kidding. You know you were amazing."
"That's more like it," Tayend smirked smugly.
"Although," Dannyl frowned. "This couch isn't too comfortable."
Tayend patted the couch's material and nodded when a dull, solid sound echoed off. "Hmm, you're right. Although, you weren't complaining about the ground back in Armje."
"Well, at least the grass was soft," Dannyl murmured shyly, feeling heat rise to his cheeks.
"Seems like we're going have to buy a better couch if we want our love nest to be perfect."
"Love nest?" Dannyl laughed incredulously.
"Well, that's what it is, isn't it?"
"I always thought this was a study room."
"Why must you be so boring, Dannyl?" Tayend said with mock exasperation.
Dannyl laughed and pulled Tayend closer to him. He sighed softly. "You know, I'm really happy to be back. I missed you."
"I missed you too," Tayend replied. "So don't go heading off to Kyralia any time soon – we have a lot of catching up to do, if you know what I mean."
"Oh, I know exactly what you mean," Dannyl smirked, kissing Tayend's forehead.